Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Fish with carom/ajwain seeds and panko

Posted by fourclankitchen on January 12, 2010

I first read about Amritsari fish, a tangy fried street food sold in Punjab, India in Madhur Jaffrey’s awesome book, Flavors of India. It required a marinade using ground carom (ajwain) seeds, a spice rarely used in any cuisine, followed by deep frying in a chickpea flour batter. Carom seeds have a unique flavor (a cross between caraway and thyme) and I wanted to make it, although I wont deep fry anything. So this is what I came up with. Marinade the fish as suggested, pan fry and wrap in panko crumbs toasted in butter. It turned out to have a lovely flavor and the panko (Japanese bread crumbs) provided the crunch deep frying would have.

Fish with carom/ajwain seeds and Panko (adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavors of India)

For the first marinade:

1 lb fish fillet (I used cod, but salmon or any firm fleshed fish would do)
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt (MJ’s rerecipe calls for 1 tbs).


For the second marinade:
1 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika/kashmiri chilli powder
½ tsp. Turmeric:
1 1/2 tbs. ajwain/carom seeds ground (seeds available at any Indian grocery store, picture follows)
½ tsp salt (MJs recipe calls for 1 tsp)
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. garlic (4 cloves)
1 1/2 tsp. ginger (omit if you don’t like its pungency)
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper


½ cup panko.
A pinch of salt (less than 1/8 tsp.)
1 tablespoon butter.

1 lb cod
1 tbs. oil for frying.

Cut fish crosswise into 1-2″ pieces and marinade in vinegar and salt for 30 min. Drain the vinegar, pat fish dry. Mix all the dry spices and oil in the second marinade and rub the paste over the fish sticks. Marinade another 30 min.

In a 12″ skillet, toast the panko on medium heat in butter, till it turns a pale brown- this takes only a few minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Wipe the skillet, add the oil, and cook the fish for about 3 min/side or till it loses its translucency and turns opaque (this will depend on the size of the pieces and the type of fish). Sprinkle the panko on top, roll or fold the fish into the panko crumbs, depending upon your dexterity. Serve immediately.

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