Pan-Fried Pomfret with Fresh Chutney
1 pomfret, about 750 g/1 1/2 lb
1 lime or lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
flour or cornflour (cornstarch) for dusting
oil for shallow frying
Mixture for stuffing
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
4 tablespoons cooked and mashed green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 green chillies, finely chopped
finely grated rind of 1 lime
Clean the fish, leaving it whole. Scrub the cavity with coarse salt, rinse well and dry with paper towels. Score the flesh at its thickest point. Finely grate the rind of the lime and set aside for the stuffing. Squeeze the juice of half the lime over the fish and inside the cavity, rub salt, turmeric and chilli powder both inside and outside the fish and leave while preparing stuffing.
Heat ghee in a small pan and fry the slivered almonds until golden. Lift out and cool. Fry the spring onion until soft, add to the mashed green peas with the chopped fresh herbs, garam masala, ginger, chillies, grated lime rind and the almonds, coarsely chopped. Add salt to taste.
Fill the cavity of the fish and, if necessary, tie once or twice with string. Dip the fish in flour or cornflour, dusting off excess. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan and when very hot put in the fish and fry until crisp and brown all over, turning once. Remove string and serve immediately with wedges of lime if desired.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)