In an attempt to cut back on red meat, I have increased our fish consumption but I don’t often get fresh fish at our local super market and buying it at organic stores or specialty fish vendors makes it very expensive. Our family is also a bit spoiled from the experience of living in the Philippines and Indonesia where seafood is very easily available and very fresh. So back in the US, I struggle to find good seafood places to shop at. Also, I am not very familiar with names of sea fish because back in India, I used to know the names of the fish in the local vernacular. But one type of fish that is usually easily available, inexpensive and usually fresh is Tilapia (often farm-raised). Tilapia is also a sturdy fish that takes well to sautéing, without flaking off and its filets come well cleaned and they are boneless. Over the past few years, Tilapia has been a weekly staple at our place but in order to keep it from becoming monotonous and boring, I use a variety of recipes. This recipe is simple, tasty and spicy (always a good thing!).
1. 1.5 lbs of Tilapia filet (or any other fish you might like)
2. 5-6 large cloves of garlic
3. One inch long fresh ginger root
4. One green chili
5. One medium white onion
6. ½ bunch of cilantro
7. One egg
8. Salt and pepper to taste
9. ½ cup of dried bread crumbs
10. Juice of one lemon
11. 1 tablespoon of freshly ground coriander powder
12. 3-4 cups of cooking oil for frying
1. In a medium sized sauce pan, put 3 cups of water and on low heat start to heat the water.
3. While the fish is getting cooked, peel and chop the following: onion, garlic, ginger root, green chili and cilantro leaves. Dice everything as small as you can.
4. Take the fish filet out of the water (you can use the fish stock for something else or throw it out) and dry them on a couple of paper towels.
5. Shred the cooked fish filet into small flakes and mix them thoroughly with the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, chili, cilantro leaves, coriander powder, salt and pepper, bread crumbs, one egg and the juice of a lemon.
7. While the oil is heating, make kababs out of the cooked fish mixture in the shape of small hamburger patties. Press down hard with your hands to keep the kababs from breaking down during the frying process. If the kabab mixture seems too soft and does not retain its shape, add a little bit more bread crumbs.
8. Start frying these patties in the hot oil – only frying 3 or 4 at a time (if you do too many, the oil starts to sputter and boil over). Take them out when they turn golden brown – usually takes 2-3 minutes on each side.
9. Keep the fried kababs over dry paper towels to soak up the excess oil. But if you fry them over high heat, they do not absorb too much oil.
10. Serve them while they are still crispy and hot with mint chutney (grind fresh mint leaves, half a bunch of cilantro leaves, one green chili, half a medium onion, juice of one lemon, ½ inch ginger root, one tablespoon of sugar and salt to taste in a blender) on the side.