Being a Punjabi has its own advantage, one of them is the basic understanding of what adds to the wow factor in food. If you understand two extreme taste pulls, you can’t go wrong. Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken both are popular Punjabi staples, definitely consumed more than Makki Di Roti and Saron da Saag. Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken define two very different cooking schools. While Tandoori Chicken gets the flavour of chicken ooze out, Butter Chicken soaks in the flavour of its butter gravy. Cooking fish is all about flavour rather tempering its flavour. One can cook all varieties of fish in all types of cooking styles but the game is in getting the right fish mash-up with the most appropriate cooking style for it. With a staggering variety of fish and and equally diverse techniques of cooking available, what works best is always a matter of experimentation.
Tandoori Tilapia is a sure recipe for disaster, full or fillet, chances that you would get it wrong most of the time are very high. Reason being the weight of the fillet or full fish, heat control in the tandoor and the much needed thickness of the pieces. Tilapia is good to grill, and this leads to an experiment to grill Tilapia in Tandoori Chicken style. Of course I had to do lot of tweaks keeping in mind how Tilapia would behave on the grill. I did try to control the onslaught of spices for the juices to do their trick.
I opted for fillets of Tilapia, instead of a full piece with skin. I also opted for fresh Tilapia over the frozen one.
Time estimate was two hours for marination and half an hour for cooking.
Ingredients I used:
- 1 kilogram of fresh fillet of Tilapia
- 200 grams of dahi (Indian/Greek yogurt)
- 50 ml fresh cream
- 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 50 grams Ginger Garlic paste
- 2 Tablespoons of Rosemary
- 2 Teaspoons of Deghi Mirch
- 2 Teaspoons of Haldi powder (Turmeric powder)
- 2 pieces of Moti Elaichi coarsely grounded (black cardamom)
- 5 pieces of Hari/ Chotti Elaichi coarsely grounded (green cardamom)
- 1/2 Teaspoon of clove oil or 1 level Teaspoon of clove powder
- 1 Tablespoon of Oregano
- 1/4 small grated Pomegranate (avoid using anardana, fresh pomegranate crush works better)
- 1/2 Tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1/2 Teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 Teaspoon White Basil
- 3 finely chopped (2 inch) green chillies
- 1 Teaspoon Dhaniya (Cilantro)
- Salt to taste
Grilled Tilapia Recipe
Played around with fork and Tilapia fillets, not digging all the way at any stage, did that on both the sides.
Mixed everything together and made a consistent marinating mixture, kept on beating it till it was all one except for coarse ingredients.
Divided the thick marinated mix (if it is not thick enough add some cornflour) in two parts. Spread one half on the surface of the pan and laid pieces of Tilapia fillet over it. Covered the pieces with rest of the mix. Covered the dish with aluminium foil and kept it aside for two hours.
Heated oven at 200 degrees.
Laid fillets on grilling mesh and shoved them in the oven. First look after 15 minutes, Turn around after another 10. Pulled after a total of 35 minutes.
Plated it with sides of onion rings, tomato slices, grated radish and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.