A visit to Seattle and its world famous Pike Place market last weekend, got me thinking of spice-battered fish.
As my eyes feasted on some of the freshest catch seen in the middle of winter, the foodie in me tried to savor as many Seattle food experiences as possible in a day and a half.
Starting with the amazing array of fresh fish, farm-stand vegetables and juicy fruit displays, we moved on to watch the mesmerizing sight of a giant vat churning fresh cheese at Beechers Handmade Cheese.
Interspersed through our day were small bites from the stunning variety of hot-out-of-the-oven baked goodies, all sold within steps of each other; think soft barbeque pork buns (hom bow) at Mee Sum Pastries, flaky chocolate-almond croissants ‘chocoladines’ at Le Panier Very French Bakery (yes, that’s the name) and mouthwatering hand-held cardamom-cinnamon and salmon piroshkies-pies at the renowned Piroshky Piroshky Russian Bakery.
Seattle’s drizzly cold weather made it perfect to accompany each treat with a tall latte, one of them bought at the very first Starbucks store in Pikes Place market.
Inspired by the many versions of spice-battered fried fish I’ve tasted across India’s regional cuisines, today’s recipe uses a delicate blend of spices, seasonings and flour with red wine vinegar and a well-beaten egg, to create a spicy fish batter more in tune with the global palate…and you guessed it, the fish is baked and not fried.
Accompanying the spiced batter baked fish is my yogurt version of a tartar sauce, a simple two-step Dill Pickle Yogurt Raita.
Serve Spiced Batter Baked Fish with Dill Pickle Yogurt Raita, alongside home-fries like these cumin-mint potatoes or roasted thyme potatoes, or pair it with your favorite side like this brown rice cranberry salad.
- 1 lb. firm white fish of choice (suggestions: tilapia, cod, halibut, pomfret, surmai)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, grated or minced (1 teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon ground red chili or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour/gram flour/besan (can be substituted with all-purpose flour)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (cider/red vinegar is also fine)
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 well-beaten egg
- Lemon juice, for serving
- ½ cup thick yogurt, Greek or Indian-style
- 2 teaspoons chopped dill pickle or dill relish
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1½ teaspoon fine sugar
- ½ teaspoon coarse grain mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Mix all the ingredients for the dill pickle yogurt raita in a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving, for the flavors to blend.
- Cut the fish into even size pieces, about 2-3 inches each.
- In a bowl, mix minced garlic, spices and seasonings, flour, red wine vinegar and oil. Add the fish pieces, making sure all the pieces are well coated with the spices and flour mixture. Keep refrigerated for at least 20 minutes, up to a couple of hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Add a well beaten egg into the fish and coat well. Lay the fish pieces on a baking sheet pan.
- Ideally, set the oven rack on the highest position and broil the fish at 450F for 8-10 minutes. It's also fine to bake the fish at 450F for 8-10 minutes; broiling just gives a great golden crust to the fish.
- Alternate cooking method is to deep fry the pieces of fish, if desired.
- Serve Spiced Batter Baked Fish topped with the Dill Pickle Yogurt Raita, accompanied by home-fries or pair it with your favorite side.