kitchenklutz: knife and onions (knife and onions)
[personal profile] kitchenklutz
I've got a couple of acquaintances who are pescaterians -- that is, vegetarians who will also eat fish -- and as it turns out, my culinary experiments to date have sadly neglected fish. So this evening, I cracked open one of my favorite Thai cookbooks and decided to adapt a recipe.

The basis for tonight's experiment was plah toht kamin -- fried fish with turmeric. I wanted to go a little bit further than the recipe did, though, and so I stole some spicing ideas for the breading from a completely different source of southern style. The American South!

The result was surprisingly delicious (although, being unable to find catfish, I went with tilapia instead).

Tilapia Fillets Fried With Turmeric, Southern Style


* 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic (I diced up four or five cloves' worth.)
* 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped shallots (I just diced up one whole shallot.)
* 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons fish sauce
* 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
* 1 - 1.25 lbs firm fish fillets, such as catfish, tilapia, snapper, halibut, or black bass
* 3/4 cup fine cornmeal (do not use coarsely ground cornmeal)
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon paprika (I used 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika and 1/2 teaspoon half-sharp)
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon celery seed


1. In the workbowl of a small food processor or blender, combine the garlic, shallots, turmeric, sugar, pepper, salt, fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Grind to a fairly smooth paste, stopping now and then to scrape down the sides and adding a little water as needed to bring the ingredients together. In a medium bowl, combine the fish fillets with the turmeric marinade, turning to coat, and set aside for 15 - 20 minutes. Longer is fine, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 day.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, ginger, and celery seed in a deep plate. Whisk carefully to mix. Dip fillets in flour mixture, shake off excess, and set on a plate by the stove.

3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, until a drop of the marinade sizzles at once. Add the fish fillets as fits the pan and cook, carefully turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes (thicker fillets may need more time) until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot or warm.

I made this with a pound of frozen tilapia fillets, suitably defrosted in my fridge during the day, and it turned out amazing. The fish was tender enough that it nearly fell apart on my fork, and the combination of the marinade and the spiced breading was multilayered and memorable. I would serve this dish with or without any dip -- it's just that tasty, for my palate.

I'll definitely be making it again!
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March 2015

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