This is one of our favourite starters. Maachi tikka is simple to make and can be prepared overnight and finished just before serving. It is a very Mumbai-style dish. Simply, it is just fried, marinated fish. On the effort vs result scale it is remarkable. So little effort for such a great result.
You can use almost any kind of fish, but thick firm fish works best. We use salmon, cod, or whatever looks best at the fishmongers. You could even prepare prawns this way.
You could skewer the fish pieces, two or three pieces at a time, before cooking. We don’t.
Although it is described here as a starter, it can be served as a snack or as finger food for a party. If serving as finger food, you should skewer each piece with a toothpick to protect the fingers of your guests.
The only difficult thing with this recipe is to just cook the fish enough. Although we like our fish undercooked, not everyone does. However over-cooking small pieces of fish will cause them to break apart. We wait until the fish is just showing signs of flaking, and then immediately take it from the stove. The fish will continue cooking in its residual heat.
The fish tastes best straight from the stove.
If you are making it for the first time, you might use a little less chilli, as it is quite hot. Once you calibrate your personal taste buds, you can add more chilli the next time you cook it. Don’t change the amount of the other spices.
You will need to start this recipe the day before to allow for the marination.
- 2 tbsp gingelly oil (see notes)
Wash and dry the fish pieces, and place into a small glass bowl.
Sprinkle over the turmeric and chilli powder, then toss until fish is evenly covered in spices. Cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove fish from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Toss occasionally to distribute the spices.
Heat the oil in a wide pan. Place the fish into the oil, and cook for three to five minutes, tossing frequently. The amount of time will depend on the fish, and how you like your fish cooked. The fish will start to flake when done.
Remove fish from pan using tongs or a slotted spoon and place onto absorbent paper. Sprinkle with the garam masala and salt. Gently toss.
Place fish onto a serving bowl or plate, garnish with coriander, place lemon quarters at side of plate, and serve.
- Any firm fish will work in this recipe. We most often use salmon or cod.
- You could substitute prawns for the fish. Allow two large prawns per serving.
- Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different to the Asian sesame oil, being much less intense in flavour. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable.