Tandoori masala is a Punjabi spice blend that has become popular worldwide because of it’s versatility, big flavour and easily available ingredients. You can use this spice blend to make delicious curries, marinate meats, paneer cheese, mushrooms and other vegetables for roasting or mix it with gram flour and yogurt to make a batter for fried food.
‘Tandoor’ is a traditional Punjabi earthenware oven that’s used to bake flat breads and roast meats and vegetables in the region for centuries. It has very high temperature that keeps the roasted meat juicy inside with crispy, charred skin outside. Tandoori chicken has become a star recipe on many South Asian restaurants world wide. Cooking fish tandoori style making fish tikka is a comparatively recent development but they are fast becoming popular in the seafood loving circles.
I use very little oil in my Tandoori Fish recipe while pan frying. If you want to cut down on oil further, you can bake the marinated fish in the oven at 200 degrees C on top rack for 12-15 minutes. Brush the fish with marinade twice while baking to keep it moist. OR you can cook it on open fire as tandoori recipes are just perfect for BBQ parties.
1/4 cup lemon juice (for marinade)
1 teaspoon turmeric (for marinade)
Salt (for marinade)
1-2 teaspoon red chilli or Kashmiri chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala ( mixed ground spices)
Salt to taste
3 heaped tablespoons gram flour (besan)
2 tablespoons thick/hung yogurt
Olive or sunflower oil for shallow frying.
This Is What You Do:
Mix gram flour, all the dry spices, chilli powder and salt in a bowl. Add yogurt and mix to make a thick paste. If the paste is too thick, add more yogurt. Don’t add water.
Heat 1/2 cm oil for shallow frying on medium heat in a big frying pan. Coat whole fish or fish pieces completely with the thick tandoori batter.
Fry one fish or a few pieces at a time for easy handling and crispier finish. If frying whole pomfret, fry 8-ten minutes on one side, flip and cook the other side till golden and crisp.
If frying fish fillet, fry for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces.
Drain oil on a sieve. Serve hot with mint or tamarind chutney.
Tip: For those who are new to South Asian cuisine, garam masala is a spice blend of bay leaf, cinnamon, green and black cardamom, cumin, coriander, black pepper, fennel seeds and star anise. You can find ready to use garam masala powder at Indian/Pakistani/Bengali grocery stores or you can buy whole spices and make your own blend by grinding them in your dry mill/electric grinder. If all the above mentioned spices are not available, just blend together cinnamon, cumin and peppercorns for a close and instant substitute as these three spices are commonly used in almost every kitchen.