Balti Fish Fillets in Spicy Coconut Sauce

Use fresh fish fillets to make this dish if you can, as they have much more flavour than frozen ones. However, if you are using frozen fillets, ensure that they are completely thawed before using.


serves 4
30 ml (2 tbsp) corn oil
5 ml (1 tsp) onion seeds
4 dried red chillies
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
30 ml (2 tbsp) desiccated coconut
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
4 flatfish fillets, such as plaice, sole or flounder, each about 75 g (3 oz)
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup water
15 ml (1 tbsp) lime juice
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander
boiled rice, to serve (optional)


1. Heat the oil in a wok. Lower the heat slightly and add the onion seeds, dried red chillies, garlic slices and onion. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2. add the tomatoes, coconut, salt and coriander and stir thoroughly.

3. Cut each fish fillet into three pieces. Drop the fish pieces into the mixture and turn them over gently until they are well coated.

4. Cook for 5 - 7 minutes, lowering I the heat if necessary. Add the water, lime juice and fresh coriander and cook for a further 3 - 5 minutes until the water has mostly evaporated. Serve immediately with rice, if liked.

The Balti equivalent of the Chinese wok is the karahi, also known as a Balti pan. They are usually round-bottomed with two carrying handles. Like the wok, the karahi is traditionally made of cast iron in order to withstand the high temperatures and hot oil used in cooking. They are now made in a variety of different metals and are available in a range of sizes, including small ones for individual servings.

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