Crispy Goan-spiced mackerel

Crispy Goan-spiced mackerel

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

This dish has fame beyond the sandy beaches and borders of Goa, because it is truly wonderful. My version is semi-easy as it requires the onion to be part-charred before blending with the remaining ingredients. If this is one step too far, add a larger pinch of sugar to the mix and leave the onion out. Serve with a salad or some vegetables.


Quantity Ingredient
1 small red onion, loose, papery outer skin removed
6 fat garlic cloves
10g root ginger, coarsely chopped, (peeled weight)
2 level teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
good pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
4 medium mackerel, cleaned and butterflied
8 tablespoons semolina
6-7 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Place the onion directly on a low flame, or in a griddle pan over a low heat, to char the outside layers; it will take about 10 minutes. Keep turning it and keep an eye on it (don’t leave the kitchen!).
  2. Blend together the garlic, ginger, spices, seasoning, vinegar, sugar and onion (removing the very charred outer bits) until you have a smooth paste. I use a hand-held blender for this.
  3. Slash each side of the fish three times on the diagonal, to help the flavours penetrate the flesh. Place the semolina on a large plate.
  4. Divide the onion paste into four. Open a fish out and smear most of one part of the paste on the inside, then fold back over to close and smear the rest on the outside. Repeat to coat the remaining fish in the remaining paste. Place each fish into the semolina, one by one, to coat both sides well.
  5. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan large enough to accommodate all the fish. Once the oil is quite hot, add the fish, then reduce the heat. Cook without disturbing for four minutes, then turn the fish carefully and cook for another three or four minutes, or until crispy and golden on both sides.
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