Parsi fish with mori dahl

This is a dish synonymous with Parsi and Hindu new year. My mum would pay a visit to Billingsgate market and come home with a haul of beautiful fresh fish which she would marinade in a delicious spicy rub, in various levels of heat to suit the different factions of my large extended family. You can use strong flavoured fish such as red mullet and salmon, or white fish such as cod or haddock. The fish is fried and tomatoes are cooked into the residual marinade to make a rich spicy sauce. To temper the heat from the fish, a simple dahl is served alongside the fish with plain steamed rice.

PREP TIME 15 minutes

COOK TIME 60 minutes


Fish Ingredients

  • 750g fresh fish
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 50ml rapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons green chilli paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin
  • Half a teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml oil for frying

Dahl ingredients

  • 1 cup tuvar dahl (split pigeon peas).
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Half a teaspoon turmeric

Fish Method

In a large mixing bowl mix all the masala ingredients except the tomatoes and marinade the fish for at least 12 hours

When you are ready to cook, heat 100ml oil in a large frying pan and cook the fish on both sides until it is nice and crispy. Remove the fried fish to a plate and tip the remaining marinade into the pan. Cook the spices until they are sizzling and then add the fresh tomatoes. Cook stirring regularly until the oil separates. I usually add a little salt and red chilli powder to the sauce but you can decide depending on how hot you like your food.

Dahl Method

Soak the lentils in cold water for a few hours or overnight. Once they have soaked, rinse a few times, pop into a pan and cover with about 4 cups of water.

Bring to the boil, skimming off any starch, then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are completely soft and broken down.Add water if you feel they are getting too dry.

In another pan, heat the ghee and when it’s hot, add the cumin seeds. Let them crackle for a few seconds before adding the garlic.

Let the garlic cook until they are golden before adding the cooked lentils, salt and turmeric.

Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes

To plate up: Serve a portion of plain steamed rice, fried fish and dahl with the spicy sauce on the side

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