Fish Recheado (Fried Fish Stuffed With Chile Paste)
by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy
PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours 30 minutes to marinate
I have fond memories of the fish stands that line the beaches of Goa, the vendors selling fresh seafood straight from the sea and then frying it up on the spot. One of my favorite beaches is Colva, which is about three miles and a quick rickshaw ride away from the Madgaon Junction train station. My friends and I would inhale the chiles from the fish recheado at cheap plastic tables set up next to the lapping ocean waves, always at sunset, digging our bare feet into the sand while sipping beer between bites of freshly fried fish. Fish recheado was one of my favorites, a Goan specialty featuring the spicy-tangy flavor of tamarind and red chiles. The ingredient list might be long, but the steps are easy and it all comes together in no time. The fish is served whole, for dramatic effect. Please note that the fish should be marinated for at least 30 minutes before it’s fried. It’s the perfect dish to serve on a lazy summer evening. If you have trouble sourcing pomfret, a white-fleshed fish, substitute barramundi or mackerel.
- 16 dried red chiles, broken into small pieces
- 8 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick, crushed using the bottom of a pan
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 4 whole 12-ounce pomfret, rinsed and scored
- Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Icy cold beer
In a medium bowl, combine the chiles, garlic, ginger, tamarind, sugar, pepper, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon pieces, fenugreek, cloves, and vinegar and stir well to combine. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours for the flavors to mingle. Then transfer to a food processor and blend at high speed to form a paste. Season the paste with salt.
Place the whole fish on a sheet pan and season the exterior and the interior cavities with salt. Stuff about 1 tablespoon of the paste into the fish and then coat the fish on both sides with paste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Line a second sheet pan with paper towels. Pour ½ inch oil into a large sauté pan and heat it over medium-high heat until it glistens, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, place one fish in the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the paper towels and season with salt on both sides. Repeat with the remaining fish.
Serve while still hot with lime wedges and icy cold beer.
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An award winning author, a prominent TV personality, an active philanthropist and a James Beard Award of Excellence winner Chef Maneet Chauhan, today, sits on the permanent panel of Judges on Food Network’s Emmy Award nominated show ‘Chopped’. As executive chef of Vermilion, she was at the helm of executing the Indian-Latin cuisine developed by Rohini Dey and her kitchen teams in NY & Chicago. With Chef Chauhan at the helm, the restaurant earned many accolades, including Chicago Magazine’s Best New Restaurant and Wine Enthusiast’s Best New Restaurant in the U.S. Vermilion then set its sights on New York City and launched an equally impressive outpost in the heart of Manhattan. Soon after opening its doors, Chef Chauhan was nominated as the ‘Best Import to New York’ by Time Out Magazine. Maneet Chauhan was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the Easter Egg Roll Hunt 2014. She is an invited member of Indiaspora – an organization with the top 100 influential Indian American’s in the U.S. and sits on the Board of Society of Fellows of Culinary Institute of America. She is currently in the process of opening her own restaurant, Chauhan Ale and Masala House, in Nashville, TN. Maneet is also the owner and founder of Indie Culinaire – a New York based Avant Garde Hospitality Company that offers out of the box restaurant and hotel consulting solutions, has a line of signature spices, does exquisite and elite catering events and is engaged in multiple philanthropic events that stand for children education and end hunger, women empowerment etc.
Reprinted with permission from Chaat by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy copyright © 2020. Photographs by Linda Xiao. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.