Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another Iftaar

স্যামন ভাজি 

Bangladeshi Pan-Fried Salmon

Courtesy of my brand new camera!

Looking back through the blog, I find it highly amusing that my last post for fish was also during Ramadan - and that I'd lambasted doing anything with salmon other than smoking it. I have to admit I've changed my mind slightly on salmon: pan frying it with the correct spices makes for a nice, easy meal. The recipe below is slightly experimental and based on how we traditionally approach fried fish in Bangladesh. Caught fresh, fish needs nothing more than a bit of seasoning, chilli and turmeric before being fried to a crisp. This rule is applied to pretty much any fish, which are descaled, cut into chunks along the spine, marinated in spices and launched into a pan of hot oil.

This process is easily replicated wherever in the world you are, provided you have access to freshly caught fish. When cooking frozen fish or supermarket fish in general, however, the starting product tends to lack flavour - and the end result is often not so satisfying. So I've taken inspiration from last year's recipe, and added mustard powder to the ingredient list below. I find it cuts through the "preserved" whiff of supermarket fish. And thus, served with scattered coriander, caramelised onion, daal and some steamed rice, salmon suddenly makes for a rather traditional Bangladeshi meal. 


  • 750.00 g of filleted salmon, approximately 16 pieces
  • 1.50 teaspoons of powdered turmeric
  • 2.00 teaspoons of powdered mustard
  • Powdered chilli, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1.00 large onion
  • Coriander, to taste


  • Mix all of the powdered spices, salt and black pepper in a teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • Smear evenly over both sides of the fillets, and leave to marinate
  • Put a pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • While the oil heats, slice the onion into thin strips, separate out the layers and add to the pan with a pinch of salt
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, and the onion should slowly caramelise in 10 to 15 minutes 
  • Once this is done, set the onion aside and heat some more oil in the pan and add a first batch of fish, sized according to the pan
  • Fry the fillets on one side, then flip over to fry on the other side. For thin, skinless fillets this should take around 4 minutes for each side
  • Once cooked, set this first batch of fillets aside on a plate lined with kitchen towel
  • Discard the used oil in the pan and heat some new oil, then continue frying the fish as above until all the fillets are done
  • Serve with the caramelised onion and some diced coriander scattered over the entire dish

Additional Info:
For an unhealthier version, deep fry the fish. I've met many people over the years who do, especially professional cooks. The traditional outcome for fried fish in Bangladesh is dry and crunchy, as opposed the typically lightly fried fish I've encountered in Europe. If you have access to freshly caught salmon, you can omit the mustard for a lighter flavour. And while this recipe can also be applied to many other types of fish, I wouldn't particularly recommend attempting it with white fish.

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