Vikrant Kapoor’s Pan-roasted Barramundi (Lasooni Tali Machli)

Serves: 4

We recently ticked another thing off the bucket list: India!

We spent two nights at the incredible Mountbatten Lodge in Ranakpur, jungles about two hours out of Udaipur. Four absolutely luxury villas, just incredible food, G&Ts until late by the fire. The local temple is absolutely extraordinary. We spent an hour and trust us, we aren’t temple people.

What an absolutely incredible country. The people, the culture, the history, the sheer size of it, the organised chaos and of course the food.

Walking through the spice markets of Old Delhi, trying the street food or eating a banquet by the fire after walking with the elephants. (Not on the elephants to be clear!)

Every meal was excellent. The spices sing. Course after course of okra and potato and eggplant and breads flat, puffed, crisped, fried. Oh, and don’t get me started on Colonial Indian food. Just incredible.

So, does Indian food in India taste different to Indian food in Australia?

Largely, yes.

It’s more unique. It’s more flavoursome. Techniques are rolled into techniques: steam, peel, fry, stuff and tandoor potatoes. Or tomatoes. As just two examples.

We looked in a few bookstores – chaos in themselves – for at least one book to take home and India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant kept coming up. 1,000 recipes to be sure.

And after a cross check with the many memorable dishes we had had over our two weeks, it was a no-brainer.

The book contains some recipes from guest chefs and this barramundi from the man behind Sydney’s own Zaafran – Vikrant Kapoor – is just excellent. Like nothing you would otherwise eat in Sydney.

This is Indian food. As in Indian food you would eat in India.

(I have adapted the recipe slightly to serve 4; the other is that I baked the fish rather than frying. It was wonderful, though frying would have its own great outcome too.)

Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless barramundi fillets
Juice of 1 lime
Vegetable oil, for pan frying
Salt

For the marinade

Juice of 1 lime
3 tsp garlic paste*
2 tsp green chilli paste
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cornflour
2 pinches of ground white pepper

Method

  1. Put the barramundi fillets in a shallow, non-metallic dish. Season with salt and sprinkle with lime juice.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and then rub the marinade all over the fillets. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. Brush a little oil on a non-stick pan and heat the pan over a medium heat. Add the fish and pan-fry for 3 – 5 minutes on both sides, or until cooked.

* 5 heads of peeled garlic blended with 3 tbsp water; or use store bought from an Indian grocer as we now do.

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