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Fried whitebait with cumin salt and smoky mayonnaise

Australian Gourmet Traveller seafood recipe for fried whitebait with cumin salt and smoky mayonnaise

By Lisa Featherby
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Fried whitebait with cumin salt and smoky mayonnaise


  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 lime, finely grated rind only
  • 1 tbsp smoked sea salt, plus extra for seasoning (see note)
  • For deep-frying: sunflower oil
  • 300 gm small whitebait
  • 75 gm plain flour (½ cup)
  • To serve: lime wedges
Smoky mayonnaise
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika


  • 1
    Dry-roast cumin in a frying pan over high heat, stirring continuously, for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar, cool slightly, then, using a pestle, finely grind. Add rind, smoked sea salt and freshly ground white pepper and combine.
  • 2
    For smoky mayonnaise, combine oils in a jug. Process remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth, gradually add oil mixture, one drop at a time, then in a thin steady stream until smooth and emulsified. (If mixture becomes too thick, thin with a little hot water before adding more oil.) Season to taste with smoked sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Makes about ¾ cup. Mayonnaise will keep refrigerated for 1 week.
  • 3
    Preheat sunflower oil in a deep-fryer or large, deep saucepan to 180C. Combine whitebait and flour in a bowl, season to taste and toss to coat. Sift excess flour from whitebait with a coarse sieve. Fry in batches, for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden, drain on absorbent paper and season with cumin salt. Serve with mayonnaise, cumin salt and lime wedges to the side.


Smoked sea salt, such as Halen Môn, is available from
and select delicatessens.
Drink Suggestion: Good dry rosé. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Lisa Featherby