Pomfret/ Vaaval tastes best when shallow-fried or grilled. With color variations, this type of fish comes in different names like White Pomfret, Silver Pomfret, Golden Pompano. This fish doesn’t have many bones except the long central structural bone and so it is preferred for babies and kids as well. The soft flesh & mild flavor makes it suit many cuisines and is therefore bit expensive. Wild caught Pompanos have less levels of mercury compared to large predators and so are considered safe to consume by babies and pregnant moms. Though you can make fish curry using Pompanos, I prefer grilled Pompanos as they taste too delicious when grilled..
Preparation – How to grill Pomfret fish?
- Pomfret fish - 10 pieces
- Ginger Garlic paste - ½ tsp
- Red Chilli powder - 1 heaped tsp or as per your spice level
- Coriander powder - ½ tsp
- Pepper powder - ¼ tsp
- Cumin powder - ⅛ tsp
- Turmeric powder - ⅛ tsp
- Garam Masala - ⅛ tsp
- Fennel powder - ⅛ tsp
- Salt - ½ heaped tsp or as required
- Lemon juice - 1 tbsp or as required
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp or more
- Wash the fish well with water. Then add rock salt and turmeric powder to it and scrub the fish against the bowl so that any sand/dirt are removed by friction with rock salt and turmeric powder will take care of the germs in it. Then again wash well with water twice.
- In another bowl, add all spice powders(mentioned in Ingredients list) & required salt. Add little lemon juice to make a paste. Apply this paste over all fish pieces and let it marinate for 1 hour. You can refer to my special Fish Fry Masala Recipe, given in the Notes section below.
- After one hour, add 1 or 2 tbsp(as per the number of fish pieces) olive oil and gently mix so that oil coats over all fish pieces.
- Pre-heat the oven in High broil mode for 10 mins. I just have 2 options for broiling in my oven - Low and High modes.
- In a baking tray, place an aluminium foil and brush it with olive oil. Place the fish pieces over the tray with ample gaps.
- Brush with olive oil on top side of the fish pieces and grill for 10 mins in high broil mode.
- Take out the tray. Don't forget to wear oven mittens while taking out the hot tray. If there is any excess water, drain it out or just absorb it using tissue paper.
- Using tongs, flip the fish pieces and again brush with olive oil on top of each piece.
- Keep the tray inside the oven and grill it again for 10 mins in High broil mode.
- Take out the tray and let the pieces stay in the hot tray for 5 more mins. Then, immediately transfer all the pieces to serving tray, else it might turn hard.
2.If you want to grill using cast iron pan, pre heat the pan with a thin oil layer, when the oven is preheating. Then pop in the fish pieces and continue to grill.
3.You can substitute Pomfret with any other fish.
4.You can shallow fry this fish in pan. Once oil is hot, fry just for 3 to 4 mins in each side in medium flame.
5.For babies below one year, you can skip chilli powder and salt. You can use little amounts of all other ingredients.
6.I usually use plain chilli powder and ¼ tsp of my Fish fry masala for the spices. You can make this fish fry masala and keep it handy. You shall use this for all fish fry & grills. You can add this to grilled chicken too to elevate the flavor. I add this to my potato grills too..
My fish fry Masala Recipe
Dry fry the below spices in low flame, cool down and grind to powder..
1 levelled tbsp - Coriander seeds/Malli vidhaigal
1 levelled tbsp - Bengal gram/Kadalai Paruppu
Dry red chillies - 10
Once the bengal gram starts to change color, add the below & roast along till jeera gets little dark(don't darken much as it will turn bitter) ..
1 heaped tbsp - Peppercorns/Milagu
1 levelled tbsp - Fennel seeds/Sombu
1 levelled tbsp - Cumin seeds/Jeera
1 little finger size - Cinnamon stick/Pattai
1/4 levelled tsp - Cloves/Krambu
1 levelled tbsp - Rock Salt