The Japanese Thread fin fish (Sankara fish) used in this recipe is a popular fish in Tamil Nadu .
In spite of its name, the Lahori fish fry is common in India too especially in parts of Tamil Nadu , Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab .
There are two ways of preparing this dish; one is the traditional version and the other is the restaurant version. In the former, the fish is coated with the spice marinade and deep fried while in the latter, the fish is coated in a spiced batter and then deep fried. The recipe outlined is the former version but if you wish to make the restaurant version, then all that you need to do is prepare a batter instead of a marinade.
Either way, this is a uniquely delicious way to enjoy your favorite fish. You may either use whole fish (I have used Japanese thread fin bream [Sankara] today ) or boneless fish fillets.
1. 1 kg Japanese thread fin bream; head and guts removed, cleaned well
2. 2 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
3. 1 tbsp ajwain/carrom seeds
4. 1 tsp black salt/kala namak
5. 1 tbsp shahi jeera/caraway seeds
6. 4 garlic cloves
7. Juice of 1 lemon
8. 2 tbsp red chilli flakes (adjust to personal preferences)
9. 1 tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
10. Salt, to season
11. ½ tsp turmeric powder
12. 3 tbsp besan/chickpea flour
13. Vegetable oil, for deep frying
• Clean and wash the fish; pat dry and place in a bowl.
• Using a mortar and pestle/grinder, coarsely grind coriander seeds, ajwain, black salt and shahi jeera. Add to the fish pieces.
• Using the same mortar and pestle/grinder, crush the garlic cloves and add the lemon juice. Add this also to the fish pieces.
• Add the rest of the spices and mix well to combine.
• Keep aside for at least 1 hour.
• Then add the besan and mix well again.
• Heat enough oil in a deep pan for deep frying and then fry the fish pieces till golden brown.
• Serve warm with a salad.
Note – If you wish to make a batter, then add all the spices to the besan, add enough water to make a batter. Dip the fish pieces in this and deep fry till done. This is a great choice if you are using boneless fish fillets – a spicy sort of fish and chips.