Amritsari fish pakora, my take on an ancient Northern Indian dish, I use cod coated in a spiced gram flour batter & quickly fry it.
The fish is firmed up with sugar, salt and asafoetida for an hour before cooking, but the preparation and frying takes less than 15 minutes.
Spicy Fish Pakora
My take on Amritsari fish fry is a bit of a halfway house between the classic recipe and an Indian fish pakora.
Traditionally freshwater fish would be used, but I like to make this with cod. But you could use coley which is around half of the price, it is not quite as firm but it is delicious. I use it in my masala fish recipe.
I firm up the fish by allowing it to cure in salt and sugar for an hour, this stops the fish from falling apart when it is fried.
With a classic Amritsari recipe a paste of yoghurt and spices would coat the fish. Then it would be dusted with gram flour before being fried.
I like to make a batter and incorporate the flour which makes it more like a pakora or a fish nugget.
If you like the idea of fish nuggets then you mush check out my monkfish goujons recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should the batter be crispy?
No, this recipe is not aimed at creating the sort of crispy batter that coats British chip shop-style fried fish.
It is more of a “chewy” coating with crispy edges. If you wanted a crispy batter you could incorporate rice flour into the recipe.
I would use half rice flour and half gram flour. It is an approach that I use in my onion bhaji recipe.
Do I have to marinate the fish first?
No, but allowing the salt and sugar mix will help keep the fish whole when it is fried. If you want to skip this process you will need to be much more careful when frying.
You will also need to add salt to the batter.
What is asafoetida?
Asafoetida is also known as hing, it is an ingredient commonly used in Indian and Pakistani vegan or vegetarian food.
It has a pungent almost sulphur like aroma and is often thought of as a digestive. It does not really have a “flavour” but it adds so much to a dish. For me, it is a real “secret” ingredient in so many Indian dishes.
Can I air fry or bake these fish nuggets?
No, the batter really does not bake well and it will make a real mess of your air fryer basket!
Then I probably commit a crime by building them like you would a taco, but they are simply delicious.
They are traditionally more of a type of street food.
However, I would be equally happy serving these cod pakora with a good pilau rice and the kachumber salad and raita I mentioned above.
I only mention brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok for frying but you could use a deep-fat fryer if you wish.
- Sugar thermometer for measuring the temperature of oil in the wok.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Mixing bowls.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
These gloriously spiced cod pakoras are based on the ancient Northern Indian dish of Amritsari Fish Fry and they are absolutely delicious!
- 300g (10oz) Cod Loin
- ½ Tsp Salt
- ¼ Tsp Sugar
- ¼ Tsp Asafoetida
- 3 Tbsp Gram Flour
- 2 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt
- 1 Tbsp Milk
- 1½ Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- ½ Tsp Onion Salt
- ½ Tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ Tsp Amchoor
- ¼ Tsp Ground Cumin
- ¼ Tsp Ground Turmeric
- ¼ Tsp Ajwain Seeds
- Chaat Masala for Garnish
- Oil for Frying
- Sprinkle the cod with the asafoetida, salt and sugar, then set it aside in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
- Add the gram flour, yoghurt, milk, chilli powder, onion salt, garlic powder, amchoor, cumin, turmeric and ajwain seeds to a bowl and whisk to form a thick batter.
- Remove the fish from the fridge and cut it into bite-sized chunks. If your cod loin has a "seam" remove that first by cutting along the seam and then cutting it into strips. Finally, slice across the large loin piece to form nice medallions.
- Fill the base of a wok with 3-4 cm of cooking oil and heat it to a temperature of 170°C or 340°F. I use a sugar thermometer to measure the temperature.
- Place the cod in the batter and carefully coat, this is a thick batter so your hands will get mucky!
- Drop the fish into the oil individually and fry for 4-5 minutes before placing it on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. This is best done in two batches with this size of fish. You can keep the fish warm in a moderate oven whilst you finish the second batch.
- Sprinkle with chaat masala to finish whilst the fish is still hot.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 1224mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 38g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.