Amritsari fish is a popular Indian street food and restaurant style fish appetizer. It is a simple dish yet tastes amazing with bursting flavors that comes from the unique combo of spices and herbs used. As the name says this appetizer is popular in the streets of Amritsar.
To make the dish, fresh water fish is marinated with the basic aromatic spices and gram flour. Then the fish pieces are deep fried until golden and crisp.
In this post I have shared 2 ways to make this dish. The first one is the deep fried method and the second one is pan fried/ tawa fish fry.
However if you want the authentic Amritsari fish then deep fry these.
Since fresh water fish is not available to me, I have used salmon. You can use any variety of your choice. My personal choice is to go with the kind that has lesser bones.
If you make a tawa fry you can make this ahead and refrigerate it to absorb all the flavors. Salmon tastes very bland even after marinating for very long hours and doesn’t absorb the flavors well like other fishes.
Marinate the fish for at least 10 mins, fry and serve right away hot.
Tips to make Amritsari fish
- Spices: The street style version of this dish is loaded with chilli powder or red color. For a brighter color, use more kashmiri red chilli powder as needed to suit your taste.
- Flour: Gram flour is the key ingredient that imparts a nutty aroma to the Amritsari fish. There is no substitute to this. However you can add a small amount of rice flour to make it crispy.
- Curd (yogurt): Usually curd, Indian yogurt is used as a binding ingredient. It helps to bind all of the marination ingredients with the fish. However my personal choice is to use water instead of curd as I feel it makes the fish slightly softer.
Method 1 – make deep fried amritsari fish fry
1. Rinse the fish and drain completely. To a mixing bowl, add ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric, kasuri methi, ajwain, red chilli powder, lemon juice, garam masala, besan and amchur powder. Mix all the ingredients along with 2 tablespoons curd or water. Marinate the fish for 10 minutes.
2. On a medium flame, heat oil in a pan. When the oil turns hot, test by dropping a small portion of the masala to the hot oil. It has to rise without browning. This is the right temperature. Gently slide the fish pieces and fry flipping as needed. When they become golden & crisp. Remove to a plate.
Method 2 – make tawa fish fry
1. For this method we have to roast the besan first otherwise it will leave a raw smell to the finished dish. On a medium heat, roast besan in a small pan till it begins to smell good & aromatic. Do not over fry or brown it. Set this aside.
2. Marinate fish with ginger garlic paste, salt, garam masala powder, amchur, lemon juice, chilli powder, kasuri methi, & turmeric.
3. Heat a wide pan, add 2 tablespoons oil to it. When the oil turns hot, add ajwain. When they sizzle, gently place the fish pieces and fry it for about five minutes on each side.
4. When the fish is almost cooked, sprinkle besan evenly on only one side and fry without burning. I add my flour to a sieve and shake off as it prevents lumps.
5. Flip the pieces and continue to fry till cooked & aromatic. Taste test and sprinkle more salt. Serve amritsari tawa fish fry as a side.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 300 grams fish (salmon or any fresh water fish)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
- ⅓ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon kasuri methi (crushed)(dried fenugreek leaves)
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala (or tandoori masala)
- ½ teaspoon amchur powder (dried mango powder) Or chaat masala
- 2 tablespoons curd or water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons besan (gram flour, preferably coarse)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons oil (or ¼ to ½ cup for method 2)
Method 1- deep fry
- Rinse the fish well and pat dry.
- To a mixing bowl, add gram flour, salt, red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, amchur, kasuri methi, ajwain, ginger garlic paste & lemon juice.
- Mix all of them well. Taste test & add more salt and red chilli powder if needed.
- Transfer the fish pieces and add 2 tablespoons curd or water. Coat the fish well with all of these.
- If it is too dry, you may sprinkle some water. All of the fish pieces should be coated well with the masala.
- Pour ¼ to ½ cup oil and heat it. When the oil turns hot, test by dropping a small portion of the masala to the oil.
- It has to rise with out browning a lot. This is the right temperature. Gently slide the fish pieces into the oil.
- Deep fry them until crisp and golden. You will begin to smell it good when the fish is done.
- Serve Amritsari fish hot as a side or appetizer.
Method 2- pan/ tawa fish fry
- Dry roast besan on a medium flame for few mins till you get a nice roasted aroma. This is done to remove the raw smell from the besan. Do not darken the flour.
- Set this aside to cool.
- Rinse fish and cut to desired sizes. Drain the water completely.
- To a mixing bowl, add ginger garlic, red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, salt, amchur, kasuri methi & lemon juice. Taste test and add more salt if needed.
- Add the fish to this and marinate well. If the fish looks too dry then sprinkle some water. I don't use curd for pan frying. Set aside for 10 mins.
- Heat a wide pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Add ajwain.
- When they begin to splutter, place the fish pieces one by one and fry them on a medium flame for 4 mins.
- Flip the pieces and let them fry for another 5 mins.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons besan evenly all over on one side and continue to fry without burning. To avoid lumps I sieve the flour directly on the fish.
- Flip the pieces and fry again. The flour that we sprinkle on one side will be enough for both the sides. If needed can increase the flame slightly and fry on both sides till cooked.
- When it is done you will begin to smell the whole thing good. Serve tawa fish hot as a starter or as a side dish.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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