‘Hari Machhi kebab’ or Fish kebabs made with a green dry marinade were a family favourite. The fish mixed in with the marinade culminated in a melt in your mouth kebab. While mum was still frying them off I tuck into this crispy edged fish kebab; still piping hot and moist in the middle with a hint of ginger & spices. Dunking each morsel in a generous portion of tangy chutney. I was always the first in the kitchen to ‘sample’ the kebabs before the guests arrived and sneaking back to the kitchen for more while my parents weren’t around. Cooking them now takes me back to the aromas, sizzles & splutters when mum would make them in her kitchen. And nevertheless keeps me coming back for more.
Kebabs in India are grilled, shallow fried, deep fried or baked and with the use of chicken, goat meat, lamb, fish or vegetables there is a huge range. There clearly is a lot to choose from.
For the fish kebabs I have steamed the fish prior to frying with crushed garlic & lemon slices. The lemon helps rid of any ‘fishy’ smells while steaming and garlic adds to the flavour. I have used mustard oil to fry off the kebabs as it also lend to the flavour of the final dish. I can’t think of a better pairing than fish with mustard oil. Feel free to swap it for some vegetable or sunflower oil.
Served warm with pungent red onion rings, spiced tomato chutney and sprinkling of chaat masala they taste gorgeous and are utterly addictive.
Cut the fish into chunks and sprinkle over the salt & lemon juice. Roughly crush the garlic and add to a steamer along with the cod & salmon pieces. You can also add a few lemon slices. Steam them for 5-7mins. Turn the heat off & cool. Add most of the steamed fish pieces to a food processor and blend until smooth. Leave some behind which you can roughly mash by hand and add to the blended mix.
Mix all the ingredients for the herb mix together in a bowl. Tip in the fish and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 15-20mins.
If you’re using mustard oil, heat the oil in a non stick frying pan until smoking point. Take it off the heat and wait for a minute, before putting it back on the heat. Though if you’re using vegetable oil you can just heat the oil and proceed. Shape the mixture into cakes about 5cm and pat lightly to firm up. Fry the kebabs on medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm with a spiced tomato chutney.