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Category: White Fish (Page 1 of 2)

Thai fish in red coconut sauce

Picture above is our family buying ingedients in a Thai market, a few years ago now! This recipe takes 10 minutes, serves 4. You need:

  • 400g white fish fillet (pollack, whiting, cod etc.) cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Nam Pla)
  • 450ml coconut milk
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Season the flour and toss the fish chunks in it to coat. Put the oil in a frying pan, place on a medium heat and fry the fish in the oil for 3-4 minutes. Mix the coconut milk with the garlic, curry paste and fish sauce. Pour over the fish in the frying pan, and add the cherry tomatoes. When the mixture has started to boil turn the heat down and simmer for five minutes. Scatter with shredded basil leaves and serve with Thai rice. Couldn’t be easier. (I can’t remember where this recipe came from but several similar ones exist in Thai cookery books so it is authentic).

Thai Fish Cakes

This is the real deal, thot man pla, as taught in the Baan Thai Cooking School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a quick and easy recipe, using any type of fish, prawns or crab meat. The fish needs to be skinned, filleted and boned then minced, so any humble fish will do, or a mixture. Great for those days when you catch a load of odds and ends and nothing big enough to look good on a plate. Above  is daughter Aedy under the watchful eye of our tutor.

For four (and you can do this just for yourself by dividing the quantities) you will need:

  • 500g minced white fish meat, prawns or crab meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs red curry paste
  • 1tbs plain flour or tempura flour for true authenticity
  • 1 long bean or about 4 French beans sliced thinly
  • 3 tbs finely sliced fresh kaffir lime leaves (see tip)
  • salt to taste (half to one tsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Palm oil for deep frying (or your usual deep frying oil)

Mix together everything except the palm oil. It will be a bit sloppy, but don’t worry just yet.

Tip: kaffir lime leaves have a tough stem, to remove this simply fold in half length-ways with the stem uppermost, hold the leaf part in one hand and pull the stem up and away leaving the two halves of the leaf ready for slicing.

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan to a point where a cube of bread goes brown and crispy in 30 seconds. Spoon the mixture into the oil a blob at a time, each blob about the size of a walnut shell. After each blob lands, give it 20 seconds then squash the blob on the bottom of the pan or wok with a metal spatula to flatten it, then slide the next blob in. After each blobbing and squashing, go back to your now flat and sizzling fish cakes and gently turn them over. As they become brown and cooked-looking, scoop them out, let the oil drip off then put them on a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorb more oil. If you get the timing right you will look busy for ten minutes but it is not difficult,

Serve with a sweet chilli dipping sauce, bottled is fine but you could make your own. A squeeze of lime is good too.

Quick and easy fishcakes

For four people you will need

  • 200g fish per person (800g): any boneless white fish or a combo with some cooked prawns, salmon fillet, even a mackerel fillet or smoked mackerel. Great for using up belly flaps, cod cheeks, and that stray rockling
  • 4 slices dry old white bread
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for cooking – veg oil or sunflower

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe and couldn’t be easier because you don’t need to faff with potato or egg wash.

You will need a food processor or be very diligent at chopping. Firstly take the crusts off your bread and whizz them to breadcrumbs. Set aside on a large plate. Take a tablespoon or two of the crumbs and put them  back in your food processor. Chop the parsley and put it in the processor. Grate the zest off the lemon and add that too. Add salt and pepper, and your chosen fish combo. Whizz to a chunky gloop.  Tip the lot onto a chopping board. Here’s a tip: to divide it easily mould it into a large round cake. Now slice your cake into four and four again like a Union Jack. Take each slice and mould it into a burger shape. You should have eight of equal size. Roll them in the breadcrumbs and pat them to stick. If you have time, put them all on a plate in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes, that helps stop them  falling apart.

Now heat oil in a frying pan, about 1cm deep. Heat it so a cube cut from one of your spare crusts goes crispy golden brown in 30 seconds (but not burnt nut brown!). Now add your fishcakes. You may need to play with the heat controls so it cooks them without burning. After 5-8 minutes turn them over and give them another five on the other side. Hopefully the side you see will be not pale, not black but golden brown.

When cooked through, drain on kitchen towel and serve with your favourite accompaniments. In my opinion new potatoes and peas are hard to beat.

Posh Fish & Chips

Thank you Jamie Oliver. This can be based on any white fish but why not use pouting like Jamie does. This involves breaded fish strips, sweet potato fries and a very tasty basil mayo relish.  Quantities can be scaled up easily depending on number fish and number of mouths.

Sweet potato fries:

Heat oven to 200deg C.

Wash but don’t peel some small sweet potatoes. Slice length-ways to make small wedges, about six per small potatoes gives you chip-sized wedges. Toss in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and paprika. Place on an oven tray and roast for 35 minutes, turning occasionally. They are done when a knife point goes right in easily.

Basil mayo:

Per person (or multiply up): take about ten basil leaves and pound to mush in a pestle and mortar. Add juice from 1/4 lemon and add half a tablespoon of plain yogurt and  a half a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Mix together, job done. This is very light and refreshing.

Fish fingers:

Heat cooking oil in a frying pan, about 5mm deep will do. Fry a clove of garlic in the oil first to flavour it, then remove. Take two pout fillets per person, skinned and boned. Slice down the middle to create four “fingers”. Dip in flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs. Drop in the oil and fry each side until golden.

Serve with peas. Very good!

Not just any old fish kebabs

For four people you will need:

  • 4 white fish fillets or steaks (any white fish as long as the fillets are chunky: cod, whiting, pouting, pollack etc.)
  • 16 large uncooked prawns
  • 8 thin rashers smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olive Oil

Put the zest and juice of a lemon in a bowl. Glug in about 4 tablespoons olive oil, add two crushed garlic cloves and a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme. Stir about. Throw in 16 peeled uncooked big prawns. Cube the fish and add to the bowl. Toss about in the juice. Thread fish cubes and prawns evenly on four skewers. Wrap two thin rashers of smoked streaky bacon around each kebab, and grill both sides for about 5 minutes or until the bacon is done. Don’t waste the superb juices, in fact best to line the grill with foil to catch them. Serve with couscous and the juices, with tzaziki. If you don’t have any just mix finely chopped cucumber, chopped fresh mint and Greek yogurt to make a sauce on the side. Heaven, especially with a chilled white wine. Whoever said whiting and pouting were dull?

(Adapted from a Good Housekeeping recipe).


A classic dish, usually made with smoked haddock, but you can make it with any smoked white fish. When you next hot smoke some mackerel, try smoking pout, pollack or huss (dogfish or smoothhound) as well, just for this dish. Here is one I made with smoked smoothhound.

There are many similar variations but this is one I like best. For four people you will need:

  • 450-600g smoked white fish
  • 85g butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs mild curry paste such as korma
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 225g basmati rice
  • 500ml fish stock (from a cube is fine)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, still warm
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley.
  • salt and pepper

If it is your own smoked fish, it will already be cooked. If you are using bought smoked haddock (shame) you will need to boil up the stock and pour it over the fish and leave for five minutes. Meanwhile, fry the onion gently in the melted butter and oil until slightly coloured. Stir in the curry paste, heat through for a minute, then stir in the rice. Now add exactly 500ml fish stock, either what you used to soak the fish, or made up from the cube. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat low and cover for ten minutes. Then add the peas and fish broken into bite size pieces, cover again and cook on for another five minutes. By now the rice should have absorbed all the liquid. You can leave covered for a bit longer if it is still a bit runny. It should be neither dry nor sloppy but moist.

Serve in four bowls, with the quartered eggs and sprinkled with chopped parsley. Nice with mango chutney, and a nice cold beer of course.

Fish Tacos

A great way of using any firm white fish, especially if you have odds and ends which is fairly typical of my fishing. I rarely come home with anything capable of producing four large neat fillets which is what many recipes call for. You can vary the heat with this, from simple herby-citrus to a nice tingle. The ingredients list looks a lot but the recipe is very simple. If you make up the fish marinade, guacamole and cream sauce ahead of time you could easily make this in the boat with the freshest fish imaginable.

For each serving (and you can multiply this from one to thousands) you will need:

  • Skinned, boned white fish, any amount but about 180g is a typical portion
  • Soft flour wraps
  • Fresh coriander
  • garlic
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • Lettuce leaves (any)
  • 1/4 red onion (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Sour cream or creme fraiche
  • Mayonnaise
  • Hot chilli sauce (any – preferably Mexican style)

Quick and simple.

Follow these quantities for one or multiply up for several. Juice the lime, chop the coriander and mix 2 tablespoons chopped coriander, half a clove of crushed garlic, half the lime juice, a tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Put this marinade in a bowl and mix in the fish. Leave alone for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile mash up the avocado, another tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander, the other half of the lime juice, chopped red onion, quartered cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt. It can be as smooth or lumpy as you like. Yes, you have just made guacamole.

Now make the cream sauce. Mix mayo and sour cream in proportion one third/two thirds, add in crushed garlic and hot sauce. Quantities and proportions to your taste!  Two tablespoons of the resulting sauce per wrap is a good guide.

Now go back to the fish. You can either fry on a hot griddle pan or grill, either way cook until white all the way through, a few minutes only.

Now assemble: on your wrap put a bed of salad leaves. Shredded iceberg lettuce is fine or you can go fancier. Then a layer of guacamole, then the fish, then a good blobbing of the spicy cream sauce. Either roll up and eat messily with your fingers or eat daintily with a knife and fork. If you have under-done the hot sauce you can always lash on more. Very cold Mexican beer is the perfect accompaniment.

(Inspired my many recipes but particularly The Londoner blog)

Fish chowder to impress

Takes 35 minutes plus chopping, serves 4-6. You need:

  • 350g white fish fillet (pollack, whiting, cod etc.) cut into chunks. Even better with a little bit of smoked fish too.
  • 45g butter
  • Dash olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 4 rashers bacon, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 900ml milk
  • Lemon juice
  • 110g frozen peas, thawed
  • Salt and pepper

Gently fry the onion, celery, carrot, bacon and potato for five minutes in the oil and butter. Add the thyme and bay leaf, cover and let it sweat for a further five minutes. Sprinkle with flour and turmeric, stir for 30 seconds then add the milk. Heat and keep stirring, until it simmers. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes – if it gets too thick, add a bit more milk. Drop in the fish and peas, and cook for five minutes after it has come back to the simmer. Add lemon juice, adjust seasoning and serve. This is nice with crusty bread, and a sprinkle of nutmeg and grated cheese on top. (Thank you William Black, his recipe in Fish )

Crispy Cod

So easy, and so totally delicious. Impresses the mates (and quick too).

You will need (for 4):

  • 4 cod steaks – best cuts are thick slices from a large fillet
  • 2 thick slices of old bread (going a bit hard but not mouldy)
  • Two tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 190deg C. Lay the cod steaks on an ovenproof dish (I use a very small tin roasting tray). In a blender or food processor, zap your bead into crumbs (crusts too). Grate all the zest of the lemon and add that too. Add a pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper. Zap again to mix. Now spread the fish with mayo, and pour the crumb mix over the fish. Press gently to get it to stick to the mayo. Now put it in the oven for 15 minutes for thin steaks, 20 minutes for thick, and check after halfway through to make sure it doesn’t burn or overcook. I like this served very plain with boiled new potatoes and green beans or peas, with some real butter to melt on and lemon juice too if you like more tang. If the fish is good and fresh, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Cajun Fish

This recipe is similar to the Mackerel Blackened Fish recipe but for white fish fillets, and uses fresh herbs for a slightly different taste. This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver, and the photo above uses bass tail fillets. Blackened Fish is a Cajun style of cooking where fish fillets are smeared in spices then fried briefly in a searingly hot frying pan. This makes the outside crispy and the inside stays succulent.

Takes 10 minutes, serves 2. You need:

  • 2 fish fillets, skinned and boned
  • Seasoning rub:
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • Two garlic cloves
    • Half a teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Half a teaspoon salt
    • Half teaspoon black pepper
    • Half tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Glug of rape seed oil (rape seed oil doesn’t get as hot as vegetable oil so is good for frying)

Put all the seasoning mix into a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste. Use a rotating move, not an up-and-down pound. Coat the fillets in the the spice mix on both sides. Heat the rape seed oil in a pan until smoking hot. Put the fish in the frying pan, then after a minute or so, turn over and fry the other side. If the side you turned up is brown and crispy looking, a minute was fine. If not, give it a bit longer. Turn over and repeat.

That’s all! Serve with whatever you like. We had new potatoes rolled in olive oil, and a home made coleslaw. You could have rice ‘n beans; sweetcorn; fries; potato wedges….

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