These crispy spiced and battered Indian fish pakoras are so moreish! They're easy to make and best served fresh with a green herb chutney. If you like traditional battered fish but also love spicy Indian flavours then these homemade fish pakoras are a great way of combining the two.
I love eating fish but have to say I don't cook it nearly as often as I'd like to which is a shame as it's so healthy. And when I do cook with fish, I often make something simple such as this sea bass baked in a parcel or cod with a chorizo breadcrumb crust. I knew it was time to be a bit more adventurous with fish and try something full of flavour but still with a familiar feel.
As I've been following Vineet Bhatia's Modern Indian Cookery course on BBC Maestro over the past couple of months I decided it was the best time to have a go at his recipe for fish pakoras. So, this isn't my own recipe but it is very achieveable.
If you don't know, Vineet Bhatia was one of the first two Indian chefs to gain a Michelin star and is known as the face of modern progressive Indian cookery. So, you can definitely trust his recipes!
What ingredients do you need for fish pakoras?
You will need quite a few ingredients for these homemade fish pakoras but they are very easy to make so don't be put off! First you need to make a marinade for the fish. This tenderises and flavours the fish. Then you need to make a batter.
You'll need these ingredients for the marinade:
- Garlic paste - You can use a bought garlic paste or make it yourself. You can substitute with crushed garlic if you don't have a paste.
- Ginger paste - If you don't have a paste, then grate a piece of frsh root ginger. You can also replace the individual garlic and ginger pastes with ginger and garlic paste from a jar.
- Spices - turmeric and chilli powder
- Fresh root ginger - If you've used a paste earlier then using some fresh root ginger adds some extra freshness to the meal.
- Green chilli pepper
- Fresh coriander leaves - You can use stalks and leaves
- Lime - I usually use fresh limes and then serve extra limewedges with the fish pakoras. However, you can use lime juice from a bottle if you need to.
- Seasoning - a pinch of salt
You'll also need to make a spicy batter for the fish pakoras and for that you will need:
- Chickpea flour - This is also known as gram flour or besan flour.
- Spices and seasoning - Chilli powder, ajwain seeds and salt
- Coriander stalks
- Oil - As this is for deep frying then it's best to use a neutral sunflower or vegetable oil.
You'll need fish of course. I used cod but any white fish should work. Haddock, pollock or coley would all be good.
How do you make homemade fish pakoras?
Do check out the recipe card further down the page but trust me, these Indian fish pakoras are really simple to make. First just cut the fish into appropriate sized pieces. I cut mine into slices just under a centimetre thick. Make sure they are not too fat so you can be sure the fish will cook through evenly. Then just mix up all the ingredients for the marinade and stir it gently though the fish.
Then while the fish is marinating, whisk together all the ingredients for the batter.
Dip the pieces of marinated fish in the batter and then place in the hot oil to cook until golden brown, which should only take 2-3 minutes if the pieces of fish are thin!
It's as simple as that!
Can you make any substitutions?
Yes of course! Although please note that these are my ideas only.
Instead of fish, why not try making these with vegetables? I think thin slices of sweet potato, aubergine or courgette would work really nicely. I have made these with thin slices of chicken and that also works. One of my children won't eat fish but loved these made with chicken.
If you don't have ajwain seeds then you can just miss them out. Alternatively use something with a similar flavour such as thyme, marjoram or caraway seeds.
And if you don't have lime, use lemon instead.
What can you eat with these fish pakoras?
They are delicious dipped in a green herb chutney. I've made a simple one here by blending together coriander, mint, garlic, ginger, yogurt and salt. There is also a recipe for one in the BBC Maestro course.
They are also delicious with chips or wrapped up in a naan with lots of salad and chutney.
Modern Indian Cookery on BBC Maestro
I haven't finished the BBC Maestro course yet but already I feel I've learned so much! I love Vineet Bhatia's philosphy of not overcomplicating spicing and using the senses as a guide. After all, spicing is very individual and we all have our personal preferences. I've enjoyed learning how to properly make my own garlic and ginger pastes and realised I don't necessarily need to remove all the skin before using a piece of root ginger - one of my favourite ingredients!
What else can you learn about on BBC Maestro?
I'm following the Modern Indian Cookery course but there are so many other courses you can take too. If you're into food then you might like Marco Pierre White's Delicious Food Cooked Simply. And if you want to learn about something else then there are courses in filmmaking, children's picture books and music production by Edgar White, Julia Donaldson and Mark Ronson respectively. Or how about songwriting by Gary Barlow? Or writing for children by David Walliams?
Each course costs £80. If you would like to have a go at one or give one as a gift then I'm going to be launching a giveway on Instagram and will add a link here onces it's live so do check it out!
Indian Fish Pakoras
- 750 g white fish Cod, haddock or another similar white fish
Ingredients for the marinade
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh root ginger chopped
- 1 green chilli pepper
- 2 tablespoon fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped
- ¼ lime juiced
- pinch salt
Ingredients for the batter
- 125 g chickpea (gram) flour
- 30 g cornflour
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- pinch salt
- ¾ teaspoon ajwain seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander stalks (cilantro) chopped
- 1 egg
- 200 ml water approximate quantity
- oil for frying
- Slice the fish into thin pieces.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and stir the fish in. Leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Put all the ingredients except for the water in a bowl. Whisk together with the egg and then pour most of the water in, whisking vigorously. You should aim for a texture just slightly looser than double cream. You may need a little more or a little less than 200ml. If you accidentally add too much water, you can thicken the batter again by adding a little more gram flour.
- Heat about 2cm oil in a large saucepan or wok.
- Dip the pieces of fish in the batter. Let any excess drip off before placing carefully in the hot oil, laying it away from you so the hot oil doesn't splash up.
- Cook the fish for about 2-3 minutes until the batter is golden on the outside.
- Remove and place on kitchen paper to mop up any excess oil.
More Indian recipes you might like
If you like these homemade Indian fish pakoras then do check out my other Indian recipes below:
Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make these spicy white fish pakoras or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.