Achari Fish


A couple of months ago (I know, I'm really behind), I cooked my way through Indian-ish (cookbook review to follow!), and this dish was one of our favorites. It's as simple as can be--you throw the fish in an Indian pickle mixture to marinate, and then pan-fry it a couple of hours later. It did require a trip to the Indian store to buy mango achar, but it was so worth it. The pan-fried fish was tender and flavorful with beautiful caramelized, crispy edges. The caramelized onions on top were a brilliant idea as well. I imagine this would be amazing as part of a fish taco/burrito or in a sandwich. Will make again next time we have tilapia!

Achari Fish 

(Recipe from Indian-ish by Priya Krishna)

  • 1/2 cup mango achar packed in oil (I used Mother's Recipe brand, which Priya recommends)
  • 4 tilapia fillets (1/2 lb each)
  • 4 tsp and 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into thin rings

  1. Pour the achar (making sure to get some of the oil) into a large resealable bag. Add the fish fillets, seal the bag tightly, and use your hands to gently massage the achar onto the fish, fully coating each fillet. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 hours. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 4 tsp of the oil. Add the fish fillets (as many as you can fit comfortably) and sprinkle the top of each with a small pinch of salt. Cook the fish for 3-5 minutes, then flip when golden and the top is starting to flake. Sprinkle the second side with a pinch of salt and cook 2-3 minutes, or until you see flaking on top. 
  3. Transfer the fish to the plate and cook rest of fillets if you couldn't fit all four in the pan at once. 
  4. Once you're finished cooking the fish, warm the remaining 1/4 cup oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion rings and cook until soft and translucent, 5-8 minutes, or longer if you like them more caramelized. Top the fish with the caramelized onions and serve.

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