Spicy Kerala Baked Fish

Covered in an Indian spice blend, this kerala baked fish is a delightful and easy seafood recipe full of flavor.

My mother practiced what I like to call Brutalist Cuisine. Fish was cooked into carbon covered with breading, cakes came out raw molten in the middle. The oven was never preheated, one just turned it on shoved the food in and hoped for the best. Directions and recipes? Those are for suckers. Thoughts and prayers was what we used. None of this was accidental, this was deliberate. This was how things were cooked at Fran’s house. Did I mention she didn’t like to cook? A lot of it was based on the fact that she never thought she would ever have to cook, but hey, she married the immigrant’s son her family didn’t like, so the money-train pulled out of the station and she got behind the stove.

My moms fish skills even gave me fish trauma. It took quite a while to learn that fish could actually be fantastic if cooked correctly, and when I started cooking Indian food nearly 30 years ago, I discovered Indian cuisine has lots of amazing fish recipes from all parts of the subcontinent. Some of the best come from Kerala and since Alan was no longer demanding meat every day, but was open to the idea of fish in his diet, I got to work introducing him to some great Indian fish dishes.

It’s one thing to cook on a weekend with time aplenty, but I cook every day in the middle of a writing schedule, so what I cook on weekdays has to be relatively quick and easy. Our main meal is lunch at midday, Alan has an early dinner of the left-overs, or I cook something simple for him. I eat a few vegetables and then we basically fast for about 12 to 15 hours until the next morning. So a good hearty lunch is important. Fast, healthy, filling. That’s the name of the game, which is why I love this recipe.

I served this with Cashew Rice and an Indian creamed spinach.

Spicy hot, slightly crispy, lying on a bed of rice studded with cashews, and sultana raisins, it hit the spot taste-wise and time-wise, and the leftovers reheated up easily for Alan’s dinner that night. He loved it and it’s going in my regular rotation. I think he’d have started eating fish a long time ago if he’d had recipes like this, as it’s a great dish for the fish-curious.


Spicy Kerala Baked Fish
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Main
Ingredients
  • 4 fillets of fish. I used cod for this recipe
  • 2 large shallots
  • 1 Tbs Kashmiri chili
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • A few good grinds of black pepper
  • 2 tsp of shallot/ginger paste
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp coconut, oilive or other vegetable oil.
  • 1 tsp chopped curry leaves
  • salt to taste.
Instructions
  1. Pat the cod fillets dry with a paper towel, and place them on a plate.
  2. Put the ginger and shallot into a grinder or food processor and grind to a paste.
  3. Measure out 2 tsp, and store the rest for another use.
  4. Now place the 2 tsp back into the grinder and add everything else listed above.
  5. When it's all ground together, rub it on the fish fillets.
  6. Coat the fish on both sides.
  7. Pop the fish into the fridge for ½ to 1 hour to marinate.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400 degrees.
  9. Take a baking sheet, cover it with foil and brush it with oil.
  10. When you're ready to cook, place the fish fillets on the baking sheet, spaced an inch apart and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, then turn the fish fillets over and bake for another 15 minutes.

 

Kathy Gori

Kathy Gori has a passion for Indian cooking. She brings 20 years of cooking experience and a natural flair for communicating her culinary adventures to her blog The Colors of Indian Cooking "A Hollywood Screenwriter, A Bollywood Kitchen". Food writer, commercial and cartoon voice actor (Rosemary the telephone Operator in Hong Kong Phooey among others) and screenwriter (Chaos Theory starring Ryan Reynolds) Kathy is also a Clio award-winner. She and her screenwriting-partner husband Alan live with their Siberian Husky Patsy in Sonoma, California.

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