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Christine Manfield's Amritsari Fried Fish


This recipe for fish marinated in yoghurt and spices then fried until crispy is from Australian chef Christine Manfield, who will host a special dinner in Adelaide as part of a tour promoting the new edition of her cookbook Tasting India.

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Manfield, the founder of Sydney’s acclaimed Paramount restaurant (now closed), has travelled extensively and says Tasting India is my story of India, a story gathered across many visits, connecting with people in various walks of life”.

The second edition features 30 new recipes, new chapters on the Punjab, Gujarat and Hyderabad, and her tips on where to sleep and eat throughout India.

Manfield will host a special Tasting India dinner at King William Road restaurant The Pot on November 8, creating dishes from “heirloom recipes” she’s collected during her travels (Emma McCaskill, who it was announced on Friday was leaving her role as head chef of the restaurant, will return to the kitchen for the event).

 Amritsari Fried Fish

 Serves 6

These are a staple on the menus at Surjit Food Plaza and across the road at Makhan Fish Corner on Lawrence Road in Amritsar. Freshwater fish fillets are marinated in yoghurt and seasoned with ajwain, giving a distinctive fragrance to this snack – the most popular in Amritsar. They are usually made here with either Singhara or Sole but at home I use either freshwater salmon, silver perch or wild barramundi.


750g freshwater fish fillets, skin and bones removed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
100 ml malt vinegar
250g curd (drained yoghurt)
150g chickpea flour
3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste (see recipe below)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ajwain seeds
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
½ teaspoon chat masala


Cut the fish into 3cm-thick slices about 10cm long.

Lay the fish on a flat tray in a single layer. Mix together the turmeric and vinegar and sprinkle over the fish, then set aside for 15 minutes. Blot the fish dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

In a bowl, combine the curd, flour, ginger garlic paste, egg, lemon juice, ajwain, chilli powder and salt. Add the fish slices and turn gently with your hands to thoroughly coat each piece. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok to 180C. To test the temperature of the oil, sprinkle in some flour – if the flour sizzles, it is ready. Fry the fish, a few slices at a time, for 5-6 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with chat masala to serve.

∗ Ajwain is sometimes also known as bishop’s weed or carom seeds.

Ginger Garlic Paste

This paste is used in many Indian recipes. The amounts given below make approximately 4 tablespoons but the quantities can be increased as required.


10 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
8–10cm piece ginger, roughly chopped (you need 3 tablespoons chopped ginger)


Blend the chopped garlic and ginger with a little water in a food processor or pound with a mortar and pestle until you have a smooth paste.

Extracted from Tasting India by Christine Manfield, published by Simon & Schuster Australia,  RRP $49.99. Photography © Anson Smart


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