Fish or any seafood is my preferred choice of protein any time of the year but particularly more during summer months. I will not bore you with stories of how lean and healthy and good for you it is, rather lets talk about the green masala that I slathered my fresh trout with.I must have laid my hands on this fresh catch after a decade or so.The last time I remember tasting trout was while on a family vacation to northern Himalayas where grilled trout was a local speciality and a lot of restaurants could be spotted showcasing it.
There are a lot of ways in which this green masala is prepared in different parts of india, depending on the region, but the basic herbs remain more or less the same. Most recipes, on the lines of green chutney, use a bunch of grassy cilantro, few mint leaves and (Thai or any hot)green chillies which are ground to a fine paste and then that green paste is your canvas. Add more flavorings to it. Think fresh desiccated coconut, think grainy brown mustard, think nuts, think capers, think soy sauce or maybe cheese.
Often,mom would make this.If you are a regular reader here, you would know that we grew up eating a lot of fish, which is slightly uncommon for north indian families, but we loved our seafood. She desiccated fresh coconut and mixed it with that herby, garlicky paste and then slathered it over rohu(indian green carp) steaks, coated in semolina and pan-fried. The oily, milky shreds of coconut complemented the fatty fleshy protein even though coconut was not a very popular ingredient in her kitchen but somehow it worked in this recipe.The flavors are simple and fragrant.
In my recipe, I changed up things a bit and tried to make it glutenfree and used oven to cooking. The fish comes out moist and clean on the palate with simple, herby flavors.
Ingredients (Serves 1-2)
- 1 trout, cleaned and descaled (weight about 1.5 lb)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, to drizzle
- 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro (from 18-20 sprigs)
- 2-3 fresh mint leaves (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 ” shoot of fresh ginger
- 1-2 Thai green chillies (or any hot chili, adjust to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- 1 clove
- 2 tablespoon finely desiccated fresh coconut
- 1-2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Few lemon slices to insert while baking (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (optional, only if needed during blending)
- Oil for frying
- salt to taste
Note – Make sure that the herbs etc and olive oil are of good quality in this recipe.The taste and freshness goes a long way in this recipe since they are the main flavors.
Pat the trout dry. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle liberally on both sides as well as the slit inside with salt.Set aside for 10 minutes.
In a blender, place all the ingredients listed and pulse to make a fine paste. Do not use water to thin the paste. If needed, use olive or any neutral oil. Brush this paste on both sides of the fish, stuff inside the fish. Layer sliced lemon if using. Let sit for 25-30 minutes, refrigerated.
When ready to cook. Heat up the oven to 400 F. Heat up 2-3 tablespoon oil to smoking high in a cast iron (or any oven safe pan). Put the marinated fish in the pan and let sear for 2-3 minutes. Flip and let sear on the other side. Once the fish has seared, put the pan in the preheated oven and let cook for 8-10 minutes (this time will be more or less depending on the type of fish and the cut & weight, adjust accordingly)
If you do not have an oven, after searing on both sides, put the heat to low, cover the pan and let finish cooking on its juices for 8-10 minutes, flipping once in between for even cooking.
Once the fish has cooked, squirt some fresh lime juice to taste.Serve with some steamed vegetables of steamed rice.