Why is it that a 30-something woman gets all happy grilling fish with some everyday spices. Talk about simple things making me happy.
Me and this pomfret recipe go back a long way. To the gas tandoor days, when my Mum did not have an electric oven and all baking and grilling was done on this very useful kitchen gadget.
Me as a 13-year-old was allowed to “experiment” in the kitchen under my Mum’s supervision. Though most of the times, it was she who rescued me from many culinary disasters. Dutifully emancipating me and my dish, and giving them the much-needed finishing touches, and standing behind while I gluttonously took credit for perfect cooking by a “young girl”.
Many years later, I still look up to my Mum, even though its over long-distance calls and different time zones! Some things never change…
…just like this Grilled Pomfret Recipe.
2 whole pomfret fish, cleaned and belly cut open (ask your fish monger to clean it up for you!)
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon red chili powder
4-5 fat cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of root ginger
4-5 green chilies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Handful of coriander leaves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Score the fish on both sides. Squeeze lemon juice over the fish, then sprinkle with salt and red chili powder. Make sure the spices reach the deep cuts up to the bone.
In a blender mix all the other ingredients except the oil. Make a smooth chutney, adding very little water. I usually add some more lemon juice.
Use your hands to rub this chutney marinade all over the fish. Set it aside for 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and gently place the fish on it. Drizzle some oil on the fish and broil (uncovered) for 20 minutes, turning the fish half-way.
Serve hot with lemon wedges and onion rings.
In my experiments with grilling fish, I extended this same recipe to medium-sized yellow croakers I picked from a neighborhood Korean store. And I also added tamarind pulp to the marinade.
All was good, except that I am more fond of the pomfret than the croaker.