Dinner Tonight: Fish Fillets with Spicy Green Undercoat Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Fish Fillets with Spicy Green Undercoat Recipe

I am not sure what came over me, but I was sold on this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's At Home with Madhur Jaffrey the moment I read "spicy green undercoat." What was it? I had no idea! I just imagined this lovely piece of fish sitting on some fierce chili sauce—it sounded perfect.

So I gathered the ingredients, made it through half of the recipe, then realized I'd be frying fish. This was one of the more unusual fried fish recipes I'd ever tried.

Why? Instead of dredging the fish in flour, then coating it in a batter, this recipe advocates topping the fish with the spicy green undercoat mixture and then tossing with flour. Wouldn't the coating fall off the undercoat when hitting the hot oil? Of course, I should have trusted Jaffrey more. Everything stayed intact, and the incredible spicy green undercoat was as good as imagined. I served this with some spinach to up the green on the plate.

  • Yield:4 people
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour


  • 5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from about ½ lemon
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, stemmed, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds fish fillets with skin (red snapper, trout, or porgy will work), cut into four pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil for frying


  1. 1.

    Add tomatoes, lemon juice, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and salt to a food processor or blender. Process until chopped fine. Pour sauce into a large bowl. Add the fillets and toss well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Remove fillets from the marinade, and transfer to a plate. Using a slotted spoon, extract some of the solids from the marinade and pat them on both sides of the fillets.

  3. 3.

    Pour the flour onto a large plate. Carefully add one fillet at a time, and cover both sides with the flour. Set aside on a new clean plate. Repeat process with other fillets.

  4. 4.

    Pour enough oil to ¼-inch up the sides of a saute pan. Turn heat to medium-high.

  5. 5.

    When oil is shimmering, slip the fillets in one at a time. Cook until reddish brown, about three minutes a side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with rice or spinach.