Coconut & Lime Masala Fish

Fish is a tough one. I know as a Bengali, I am bound by age old stereotypes to love all seafood, but the truth is I'm very picky. Fish curry is almost always an unpleasant experience because I feel like something as tender as 'maach' shouldn't be cooked for so long! If I ever figure out how to make my dream fish curry (no doubt there will be coconut milk somewhere) I will surely share it with you. Until then, I think this baked sea bream is a good entry level recipe for those who love fish but have no idea how to cook it! This was a 5 minute prep and 15 minute oven job but the sharp and crunchy flavours would have you believe otherwise.

Portions: Enough for one whole sea bream; you can get two portions out of this
Prep+cooking time: 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 sea bream, gutted, cleaned and scaled (you can ask the fishmongers to do this for you)
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil 
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp mint leaves (mint sauce will work fine)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch cube ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • pinch of salt and ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Instructions

1) Wash the fish well and pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat the oven to 150Β°C/302F/Gas Mark 2 and line a tray with parchment paper.

2) In a pestle and mortar add wet ingredients first, then dry and grind to form a thick marinade. The texture should still be coarse as that's what will provide us with the crust!

3) Thoroughly coat both sides of the fish, even stuffing it with marinade, place on the tray and bake for 15 minutes. Seeing as it's a relatively small fish, it doesn't need turning but you can definitely do that too. 

4) Remove from the oven once the marinade turns a little crispy and the mustard oil seeps from the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with salad or roast vegetables.