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Yellowtail scad fish-fry with cucumber and iceberg salad

We've taken inspiration from the many versions of the fish-fry that are so popular in southern India, particularly Kerala. Yellowtail scads are little beauties, with lovely oily flesh that goes perfectly with the spices rubbed into the flesh here. If they're unavailable use sardines or mackerel; you may need to adjust the cooking times. Add a crisp lettuce salad to make this a summer favourite.

You'll need

2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (see note) 1 tbsp semolina 1 tsp fish masala powder (see note) 2 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp finely ground black pepper 8 whole yellowtail scad or sardines, cleaned 40 gm coconut oil 2 sprigs curry leaves To serve: naan and lime wedges (optional)   Cucumber and iceberg salad 2 Lebanese cucumbers, coarsely chopped 1 apple cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped ½ iceberg lettuce, cut into thin wedges ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander, torn 2 spring onions, thinly sliced 1 tsp cumin seeds Juice of 2 limes 1½ tbsp grapeseed oil


  • 01
  • Combine chilli, semolina, fish masala powder, coriander, turmeric and pepper in a small bowl, and season to taste. Rub into fish and set aside.
  • 02
  • For cucumber and iceberg salad, combine cucumber, iceberg, coriander and spring onions in a bowl. Dry-roast cumin seeds in a small frying pan until fragrant (30 seconds). Transfer to a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush, transfer to a bowl and whisk in lime juice and oil, season to taste and toss with cucumber mix.
  • 03
  • Heat coconut oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan, add some curry leaves, then fry fish in batches, turning once, until golden and crisp (3-5 minutes). Wipe out pan with absorbent paper and repeat with remaining fish and curry leaves. Serve hot with cucumber and iceberg salad and lime wedges.
Note Kashmiri chilli powder is available from Herbie's Spices; fish masala powder is available from Indian and select Asian grocers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Pale, dry rosé.

Featured in

Feb 2014

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