In the upcoming cookbook Gunpowder, Baweja writes: “In Kolkata, we eat so much seafood, even to begin the day. In fact, my mum makes these for breakfast, and typically we’d eat them sandwiched between white bread – our take on a fish finger sandwich!”

Masala Fish Cakes
Makes 8 fish cakes

400g skinless whiting, cod or haddock, rinsed and dried
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
A pinch of sea salt
600g floury potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 medium eggs
200g panko breadcrumbs
Sunflower or rapeseed oil, for shallow frying


1. Place the fish in a wide, deep pan with a lid and sprinkle over the turmeric and salt. Pour in enough water to fully submerge, then cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Strain and, once cooled, flake the fish onto a plate.

2. Grate the cooked potatoes into a bowl. Add the fish, ginger, chilli, cumin, coriander, black pepper and garam masala, and mix together well. Using your hands, shape the mixture into eight patties.

3. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow dish and place the panko breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish. Dip each fish cake in the beaten egg and then in the panko breadcrumbs, then repeat the process so that they are thoroughly coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or pop in the freezer for 15 minutes).

4. Heat a shallow pool of oil in a non-stick frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish cakes for about 4 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp. Add more oil to the pan, if necessary. Serve warm with your chosen dip.

Excerpted from GUNPOWDER: Explosive Flavours from Modern India; Harneet Baweja, Devina Seth and Nirmal Save; Kyle Books. Available June 2018. Photography: David Cassidy.


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