Branzino fish recipe, adapting the tastiest Kerala style seafood preparation that will make you eat every morsel of rice served. The aromatic spice combination with crispy curry leaves on the soft baked /shallow fried fish is finger licking good.
USE ANY fish in this recipe. Branzino is easily available in the US supermarkets. It is a type of white fish, a bass variety, originally from Europe's western, southern coasts and northern coasts of Africa as well.
Understanding Kerala food :
Kerala homestyle seafood cooking/frying FISH IS ALWAYS SHALLOW FRIED IN COCONUT OIL. Here I am baking it just for convenience SAKE. Fish fry in Malayalam is called meen varuthadu or meen porichadu. (Meen meaning fish and varuthadu means fry). Authentic Kerala style fish fry is never involves deep friying nor coating in any thick batter.
Most home cooked meal consists of a shallow fried fish or coconut based fish curry for lunch and supper. The long coastline of Kerala is blessed with an abundant variety of seafood. Tropical climate, fresh catch of the day with fibre rich red rice, coconut based veggie filled side dishes makes it a sumptuous meal. This 347 miles long state is the seafood lovers paradise. My state, KERALA is truly the 'God's own country'.
Kerala food is definitely carb rich to suit the working class that sweats it off in the tropical hot, humid and rainy climate. The proportion of carb, protein, and veggies are so well balanced to suit my gene. The true blue malayalee in me is speaking now!
This DECADE old blog is devoted solely for the purpose of writing down about authentic food. Ofcourse devouring, inhaling aromas, visually treating and most importantly sharing the knowledge with others too.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY THIS RECIPE?
Healthy, paleo diet friendly flavorful seafood preparation everyone will love.
A main course recipe that is insanely simple to make. Fish can be grilled , air fried, shallow pan fried or baked in the oven which makes it so versatile.
- TASTE: The fresh curry leaves and coconut oil gives the fish an awesome flavor without overpowering it.
- TEXTURE: The baked fish is tender, juicy moist and stays that way even after cooling down.
- TIME: Takes 15 -20 minutes in the oven.
- EASE: Since there are very little fish bones it is easy to clean and cut the fish. If you get the scales removed from store you simply wash, cut into pieces marinate and cook.
SECRETS OF KEEPING THE FISH TENDER AND MOIST :
- Use skin on fresh fish for best flavor. The natural oil present adds more taste. It helps the fish from drying out. The skin crisps up adds so much flavor.
- If you have fresh ingredients on hand always use that. Black pepper fresh crushed and not pre-powdered, gg paste is a big no-no.
- Curry leaves and coconut oil are match made in heaven do not skip it please.
- Chili powder will burn fast and taste bitter hence add very little chili powder/paprika to the marinade to fry /bake the fish.
- Do not add too much acidic ingredients, it can break down the protein in the fish.
- Shallot adds a nice caremlised flavor to the dish but too much of it can brown easily and taste bitter.
- Do not leave the fish in the oven after cooking -this will toughen the flesh.
- BAKING reduces the fish cooking smell in closed houses. It also reduces splatters while shallow frying.
Ingredients for Kerala style fish fry :
Other fish options : Pompano, Porgy, Mackerel, Sardines, King fish, Red snapper, Tilapia, Salmon fillets etc. Use any type of fish you prefer in this recipe but I would avoid Tuna.
Steps for making the Branzino fry :
Cut the fish into thick flat rounds so the fish does not dry up fast in the oven.
Too much oil can turn the fish slices oily but there is no such thing as too much oil cos coconut oil simply enhances the flavor. Skin on fish has a lot of oil inside which is enough for the fish.
Make sure to remove the fish promptly from the oven so it does not dry out. The paprika will turn dark brown and turn bitter. The onion can turn from caramel to burnt flavor quickly.
SERVING AND STORAGE :
- TO SERVE : Fish fry tastes best with cooked Kerala matte rice and sides such as
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to a day or 2. Tastes really good in lunch box next day with rice.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Keep the fish marinated in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bake as needed before serving. Marinated fish can sit in the refrigerator for unto 2 days in airtight container.
Branzino Fish Recipe
- 1 - 2 Branzino fish small to medium sized fish
- 2 tsp Coconut oil
- 2 sprigs Curry leaves
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 1 tsp Chili powder Paprika powder instead
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 3-4 Small onion
- 1/2 inch Ginger
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 Green chili
- 1 sprig Curry leaves
- Clean and wash the fish.Cut into 1-11/2 inch thick round pieces. Rinse finally with 2 tbsp of vinegar and salt if there is a fish smell. Drain all the water completely.
- Make a marinade by coarsely crushing the ingredients given the list. Add red chili powder, Turmeric powder, salt. Mix the fish pieces well and set aside for 20 minutes at least. Refrigerate if living in hot climates.
- Apply coconut oil to grease a lined tray. Keep the marinated pieces leaving enough distance in between. Sprinkle curry leaves too on tray. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. The fish pieces should be crisp but not dry.
- Serve immediately with rice and other side dishes.
- Make sure the fish is removed promptly from the oven so it does not dry out. The paprika will turn dark brown and turn bitter.
- The onion can turn from caramel to burnt flavor quickly.
- Marinating and keeping it for too long will lead to breaking down the proteins in the fish and loss of fresh flavors of fish and spices.
Hope you love this Branzino fish fry and give this a try this summer itself.