A lot of fish is eaten around The MacKay Way. Boy was the Feller excited to find our local fish monger carried fresh Pompano, a fish he knew as Pomfrit back in India. Formerly we’d had some Pomfrit that had been frozen in India and flown in. Sadly it tasted super fishy. We now can get fresh Pomfrit/Pompano any time we like! (And we do!)
Indian Spiced Pan Fried Pompano (Pomfrit)
Makes enough breading to cover 2 full fish cut into slices
Breading ingredients (first five listed below):
1/2 c semolina
2.5 t cumin
1 t turmeric
2.5 t kosher salt
2 t hot chili powder (more if you use a less hot powder)
3/4-1 cup Greek Yogurt
2 full sized Pompano fish (also known as Pomfrit) cut into 3/4″ slices
Canola Oil for frying
Candy Thermometer (or other thermometer to measure the oil temperature)
Deep frying pan
Long handled tongs
Oil splatter screen
Plate and paper towels
Tray/cookie sheet large enough to hold a cooling rack
I have the fish monger clean the fish and cut it into 3/4″ thick slices. That said, I always need to give the fish a good rinse and take out the rest of the organs from the inside (mainly bits of liver and heart) that seem to always be left behind. I remove them as they can sometimes be bitter. With the amount of time I’ve spent in my life living around Asia, I’m comfortable using the entire fish, head to tail. Never discount just how delicious the the cheek meat is and remember that fish eyes are a delicacy in a number of places in the world. Basically, all of the meat on the fish from nose to tail is eaten around The MacKay Way.
Once the fish is clean, leave it in a strainer to drain while you prepare the breading. Mix the five breading ingredients in a shallow, wide bowl. In another shallow, wide bowl, place the yogurt.
Using your hands, coat the fish with the yogurt then roll the yogurt covered fish in the breading mixture. The semolina will be very fine and delicate. It will be lighter than the typical bread crumb breading you may be used to. Don’t worry, it will cook up crispy.
In a large and deep frying pan, pour about 1/2″ of oil and allow it to heat up until at least 350F but no more than 375F. Once oil has reached the proper temperature, add enough pieces of fish to fit with a little room around each. Cook about 2 minutes, or until nicely browned, then turn pieces over with the long tongs and cook until the second side is browned.
TIP: Remove to a paper towel to absorb an excess oil, them move to a cooling rack that is raised. This will help keep the fried pieces at their crunchiest.
When all is cooked, serve immediately.