Thursday, February 22, 2018

Have a fish feast this Lent


DELICIOUS: Indian Chinese Chilli Fish

Mark Fraser

If you have a penchant for seafood then you are not alone. 

With the Lenten season upon us those in the Christian community who choose to abstain from meat often turn to fish as a likely substitute.

For many Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter. 

The word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning “spring,” and lenctentid, which literally means not only “Springtide” but also was the word for “March,” the month in which the majority of Lent falls.

Whatever your reasons for incorporating more fish in your diet, there are a lot of nutritious benefits to be derived that is good for the body.

Over the next five weeks, fish would become a main component in some households in their daily meals. 

From baking to frying; it can get tiresome trying to come up with new and exciting ways to prepare fish.

Chef Sanji Thankappan, owner of Ghazal restaurant, recommended a few simple but delicious fish recipes for those wanting to expand their culinary arsenal.

Thankappan has been a chef for the past 13 years.

For more information visit the website:



Indian Chinese Chilli Fish




250 grams of cut into small cubes, deboned fish (any fish with a firm flesh would do, or use deveined prawns)

3 tbsp + 1 tsp of cornflour / corn starch

3 tbsp of maida / plain flour

1 tsp + 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste

1 tsp of black pepper powder

1 capsicum / bell pepper, cubed

1 onion, cubed

1/2 to 1 tbsp of soya sauce

1 tsp of green chilli sauce

1 tsp of tomato sauce

A small bunch of spring onions or coriander leaves, chopped fine


How to make Chilli Fish

Make a thick batter of 3 tbsp cornflour + flour + 1 tsp ginger garlic paste + salt + pepper powder + water.

Dip the fish pieces in this and shallow fry in oil until golden brown. (in small batches without crowding the pan)

Drain and set aside

In the same oil, add the onions and capsicum. When the onions start to turn pink, add the ginger garlic paste and saute until fragrant

Turn heat to high and add the soya sauce, chilli sauce and tomato sauce (keep them ready by your side to prevent the rest of the dish burning)

Mix well and reduce heat. Add the fried fish pieces

Mix well and cook on low heat. Meanwhile, mix the 1 tsp cornflour in 4 tbsp water without lumps. Add to the fish mixture and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the fish

Add chopped coriander leaves or spring onions and remove from stove.

Best served with fried rice.


Fish Molly




½ kg (preferably king fish)

Onion - 2 medium

Ginger & Garlic - 1 tablespoon each 


Green chilli - 3 to 4

Small onion - 5 -6

Cardamom - 4

Cloves - 4

Cinnamon - 1 medium stick

Tomato - 2-3

Thin Coconut milk - 1 cup

Medium Coconut milk - 1 cup

Thick Coconut milk - ½ cup

Salt, oil & curry leaves - accordingly

For Marination

Pepper powder - 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder (saffron) - ½ teaspoon

Lemon juice - ½ teaspoon




1. Marinate the fish pieces with pepper powder, turmeric powder, salt & lemon juice. Keep it for half an hour. Shallow fry the marinated fish for just 2-3 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a pan. Splutter cardamom,cinnamon and cloves. Add crushed ginger garlic & green chillies. Add small & big onions. Once the onion becomes soft add thin coconut milk. Let it boil. Add the fried fish pieces & add salt.

3. When the gravy becomes little thick add medium coconut milk.After that add tomatoes and curry leaves when the gravy becomes thick. Once the tomatoes is cooked add thick coconut milk and just heat it and serve.

4. If you require a thicker gravy please add one teaspoon corn flour mixed in water.


Chef Thankappan shares tips on how to fillet a small and large fish.


Filleting a small fish:

1. Cut off the head just behind the gills.

2. Hold the fish by the tail. With the knife blade pointing away from you and across the body of the fish, begin to cut toward the head (or at least where the head used to be). Use the backbone to guide your knife.

3. To take the skin off, begin by holding the fillet by the tail, skin side down. 

4. Hold the knife crosswise across the fillet and insert the knife between the skin and the flesh. Don’t worry if you don’t get this perfect at first.

5. While holding the skin, cut in the direction of where the head used to be.


Filleting a big fish:

1. Make a deep cut just behind the gills (about halfway through the thickness of the fish).

2. Cut a slit a few inches in length along the top of the fish (the dorsal side).

3. Using the tip of the knife, separate the flesh from the bones, as illustrated. The fish should open up just like a book.

4. When completely open, finish cutting away the fillet by moving the knife along the spine.