My forefathers were fishermen and I don’t know if that has contributed to my love of seafood, but growing up in Mumbai, you simply couldn’t escape fish and fisher-folk. Almost every morning, we would have a fish monger walking around our area with a basket of fish caught earlier that morning, calling out ‘macchi-wala‘. We were used to home-delivery much before the concept became popular, I guess.
On week-ends, my father would go to the local fish market and come back with large amounts of fish and prawns, which would then be cleaned, marinated and either cooked the same day or frozen for the coming week. Since my mom used to work full-time, this was a regular weekend ritual to ensure that we were able to have ready-to-cook fish on week-days too.
Yesterday, I had a sudden hankering for Green Masala Pomfret, which used to be one of my mom’s specialties. Whole Pomfret, cleaned, and stuffed with a green chutney and then fried on a skillet. Truly finger-licking good!
Pomfret is one of my favorite fishes and it’s quite depressing that we don’t get fresh Pomfret in Copenhagen. I couldn’t let the opportunity of making this absolutely delicious dish pass me by. So, off Dad went this morning to the fish market and came back with 2 fresh caught, shiny, white Pomfret, which the macchi-wali had already cleaned and cut exactly how I wanted it.
The taste was as good as I remembered. The chutney is a mouth-watering medley of ginger, garlic, green chillies, cilantro, coconut, lime and cumin. My husband called it ‘Dynamite’ & my little one ate copious amounts of fish in spite of it being a little spicy for her taste. Dad managed to polish off quite a bit of it too, saying ‘very nice!’ He must miss mom’s cooking too…
Here’s the recipe:
Whole Pomfret Stuffed with Green Masala:
2 large whole Pomfret, prepared as per directions below
4 tablespoons for frying
For the marination / stuffing:
1 bunch fresh Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
5 large cloves Garlic
2″ piece Ginger
2-4 Green Chillies, depending on how hot you like it
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
2 tablespoons grated fresh Coconut
Salt to taste
Clean the fish and cut open the stomach of the fish. Remove the gills and wash the fish thoroughly.
Lay the fish flat on a cutting board and slide in a knife and slit open the fish length-wise close to its bone, reaching almost till the tail.
Do not cut open all the way through. It should resemble a pocket.
Apply a bit of salt all over the fish and keep aside.
Put all the ingredients for the marination into a mixer / food processor and grind into a paste.
Apply the marinade all over the fish and also stuff into the fish cavity.
Refrigerate for about an hour.
Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the marinated fish on a medium flame. Covering the skillet with a lid will reduce the spluttering and also speed up the cooking. Fry till both sides of the fish are browned evenly.
Serve with some onion rings and lots of lime!