Dhuyein ki machchi (smoked fish and tomato chutney)

December 26th, 2012

sampling the wonderful dhuyein ki machchi smoked at home!

The dish I want to share this week is the easy-to-do-at-home, or on the barbie (great for the Aussies), dhuyein ki machchi!!

smoked fish and tomato chutney

ingredients for smoked fish from top, clockwise: ground garlic, ground ginger, chilli powder, turmeric powder, kebab garam masala (ground), oil, lemon wedges, salt; plate-sized NZ snapper (gutted and scaled); tea leaves for smoking

I like to serve this alongside a tomato chutney which you can prepare whilst your fish is smoking in the oven.

ingredients for tomato chutney, clockwise: kari leaves, chilli powder, oil, black mustard seeds, dry red chillies, chick pea lentils, white lentils, salt, asafoetida powder, lemon juice, turmeric, tamarind paste, tomato purée, fresh coriander leaves

Step 1

the fish can be red snapper (pictured), baby barramundi, flathead, in fact use any whole fish that can comfortably fill a plate. It’s always a good idea to keep the fish on ice when out of the fridge

Step 2

What’s smoking? To infuse the fish with a smokey flavour, you need something to smoke. Pictured is black tea with some of the ground spices that make up the kebab garam masala…… You don’t have to use tea! If you have time, use the fibre husks from sweet corn, dry in the sun for a couple of days. You can also use shaved hickory (available at all good BBQ stores)

Step 3

If you’re smoking the fish on a stove you’ll need: heavy-based pan, glass lid, mixing bowl, whisk and a metal rack

Step 4

If you’re smoking the fish in an oven you’ll need: baking tray, mixing bowl, whisk, metal rack

Step 5

click kebab garam masala
If you’re smoking the fish on a stove you’ll need: heavy-based pan, glass lid, mixing bowl, whisk and a metal rack

Step 6

grind until garam masala resembles course sand

Step 7

your fish should be scaled and gutted – clean the insides thoroughly

Step 8

on a chopping board, score the fish, three slashes on each side, about 1/2 cm deep

Step 9

this is the right cutting depth

Step 10

After you have scored all the fish, discard the ice.

pat fish dry with a paper towel or the marinade won’t stick

Step 11

pat dry the insides of the fish as well

Step 12

place fish in tray and cover with paper towelling whilst preparing the marinade

Step 13:Preparing the marinade.

add 1 tbsp salt to mixing bowl

Step 14

add 1 tbsp garlic paste to mixing bowl

Step 15

add 1 tbsp  ginger paste to mixing bowl

Step 16

fold salt, garlic and ginger paste together

Step 17

add 1 tsp chilli powder and fold

Step 18

add 1/2 tsp turmeric and fold

Step 19

add 2 tbsp ground kebab garam masala and fold, add any remaining garam masala to the tea leaves

Step 20

add polyunsaturated vegetable oil and fold

Step 21

your marinade is now ready and should look (more or less!) like this

Step 22

smear marinade over fish and into scored cuts

Step 23

smear marinade into fish cavity as well

Step 24

this is how much marinade should be on the fish (both sides)

Step 25

folding in remaining garam masala to the tea leaves

Step 26

if cooking on the stove, add tea leaf mixture to pan – the tea leaves should be laid about 1-cm thick, covering about 60% of the base

Step 27

place fish on rack, add more marinade if necessary

Step 28

cover pan with lid – a glass lid is ideal as you can see when the fish is ready without having to take off the lid (which you don’t want to do as the smoke will escape). As the fish cooks, the gills will open up and the dorsal fin will rise. The fish is cooked when the scored cuts ‘weep’ (fill with moisture).

Step 29

scored cuts ‘weeping’ (moisture will bead there) means the fish is cooked

Step 30

If using oven: turn on temp. to 180-200 C and also turn on the grill (if your oven is able to do both), to medium heat. Place tea leaves on aluminium foil in a tray on top shelf of the oven (closest to the grill). Tea leaves should be laid about 2 cm thick. Keep fish on the rack and place on tray. Then place on shelf underneath the tea-leaf tray, as shown above!

Step 31

A close-up of the tea leaves in the oven – they will start to smoke

Step 32

The fish is ready when the gills are fully open and scored cuts are weeping

Step 33
Making the chutney that goes alongside the fish (prepare whilst the fish is being smoked).

add 2 tbsp polyunsaturated vegetable oil to a hot frying pan

Step 34

when the oil is smoking, add 1 tsp black mustard seeds – if the oil is hot, they will immediately sizzle and pop

Step 35
Making the chutney that goes alongside the fish (prepare whilst the fish is being smoked).

add whole chillies and fold

Step 36

add 2 tbsp lentils and fold

Step 37
Making the chutney that goes alongside the fish (prepare whilst the fish is being smoked).

add 2 tbsp white lentils and fold till caramelised

Step 38

add 11/2 tsp salt and fold

Step 39

add 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder and fold

Step 40

add kari leaves and let crackle (this is pretty instantaneous)

Step 41

add 1 tsp chilli powder and fold

Step 42

add 1/2 tsp turmeric and fold

Step 43

add 1 tbsp tamarind paste and fold

Step 44

add 2 cups tomato purée and fold (or you may add chopped tomatoes or a combination of both), cook until the oil separates and appears on the surface

Step 45

tear coriander, add to pan and fold

Step 46

add 1 tbsp lemon juice, to taste, and fold

Step 47

remove from stove – then serve chutney as it is, or if you prefer, blend it for a smoother texture

Step 48

your chutney is now ready!

Step 49

place fish and chutney on a serving dish and enjoy!

There are a few things I’d like you to remember when smoking fish:
1. Never add lemon juice to the marinade, this moistens the fish and will ‘break’ it up when smoked. Add lemon juice to the fish after it has been smoked and removed from the oven and whilst it is still hot.
2. Avoid small fillets of fish as they are too delicate, use whole fish, especially when the fish is ‘plate sized’.
3. If using fillets of a bigger fish, crust the skin side (making sure you do not skin the fish, dry the skin side and apply the marinade, the skin will get crisp after smoking) and cover the flesh side with aluminium foil to prevent the fillet from drying out.
4. You may use any wood chips as long as they are safe! Please check this before you use them. Also, try rose leaves mixed with tea leaves, it creates the most fabulous aroma and taste!!
5. Remember, never fry the fish before smoking it like they do on MasterChef, nothing is worse than this as the smokey flavour does not permeate through the fish.
So, happy cooking till the next one!
Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava!!


  1. Anonymous

    What a delicious way to cook fresh fish – I will try it someday soon. Looking forward to seeing you all to-morrow Saturday.
    Best wishes
    Barry and Sheena

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