My fisherwoman has been getting us the cutest little pomfrets this past week. They fit snug in the palm of my hand (which, I assure you, is quite small by adult standards; never mind the rest of the vitalstats) and even Avanee can eat one whole. My downstairs neighbour loves to slip them whole into coconut-based curries, the lovely aromas wafting up to my kitchen.

Yesterday, I was scheduled to spend all day away from home, but when she got these beauties, I simply couldn’t resist. I thought I’d cook them and eat them today. But they turned out so yum, my non-seafood-eating husband actually ate one for breakfast. I mean, sound the drum roll, people! Thsi recipe is nothing–it gets done is 15 minutes, if not less. It’s a classic Western Indian classic, and it works so well with a simple lunch of daal-chawal (lentils and rice)or just by itself, with a crunchy kachumber (spiced salad) of cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 small pomfrets (or other flat fish of choice)
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 2 green chilies
  • small bunch mint leaves
  • a slightly bigger bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice flour or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. semolina
  • 2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Wash and clean the pomfrets. Make a slit on the side and get out all the innards. (Most fish mongers will do this for you.) Drain on a kitchen towel.
  2. Place all the other ingredients, except the rice flour and semolina, in a blender and grind to a paste, using as little water as possible to combine the chutney.
  3. Stuff the pomfrets with this chutney.
  4. Combine the rice flour and semolina in a plate.
  5. Dredge each fish, ever so lightly in the flour mix.
  6. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat.
  7. Place the fish in the pan and cook covered, for about 3 minutes or until the under side begins to turn golden.
  8. Flip the fish lightly, using two spatulas, if required. Cook uncovered for another 2 minutes.
  9. Drain and serve immediately with salad or rice and lentils.