Tuesday, April 18, 2017

White Snapper Tel Jhaal - White Snapper in Hot Tomato Gravy

White Snapper Steaks (Bone-In)
I love bone-in fish which is so much tastier than fillets because the bones are where the flavour is concentrated. Notice the small green chilies used as a garnish. They are very hot and I love to mash them into my rice to release their mind-blowing heat.

White Snapper Fillets
When I cook bone-in fish, I always cook filleted fish for my husband. He can't bear to interrupt his eating with 'fishing' out the bones which ruins his dinner! So, in the two photographs above, the sauce/gravy remains the same, but the cut of fish is different. Notice that for my husband, I have used rings of jalapeno peppers whose heat are more tolerable. They are plainly visible and can be removed easily, if necessary.

This was my first try of white snapper and my only complaint was that the texture was 'meaty', much like mackerel. I prefer the softer texture of river fish.

1 lb. fish steaks or fillets
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 russet potato, peeled and cut in wedges
4 + 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, according to taste
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds
2 sliced hot green peppers, or according to taste
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 large tomato, diced
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika
1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder (cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms)
more hot green chilies for garnish
1/4 tsp. sugar (optional)


  1. Marinate fish with turmeric and salt; set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Fry fish in batches until golden-brown and set aside. 
  3. Fry potato wedges until golden-brown and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat and sputter nigella seeds along with sliced green chilies.
  5. Add ginger paste and paprika, stir-fry until oil resurfaces.
  6. Add tomatoes and garam masala, stir well, cover and simmer until oil resurfaces.
  7. Return potatoes to skillet with a cup of boiling water, cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked.
  8. Add fish, more boiling water if required and simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Adjust salt and sugar to taste and remove from heat.
  10. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with more green chilies.
Serve with steamed Basmati or other long-grain rice.

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