Curry-Flavored Fried Fish

Agé-Zakana, Indo Fū

Not all foreign influence upon the Japanese diet has been Western. China and India have lent many spices and cooking techniques over the past centuries as well. The Japanese have a particular fondness for curry flavoring, using it both to season stews served over rice and in batter-fried fish. Here, the bright golden fried fish combines the flavors of India and Japan.

Ingredients

  • 12-14 ounces fillet of sole or flounder
  • 1-2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Curry Batter

  • 1 egg
  • ice water
  • 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
  • scant cup self-rising cake flour
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 1 small lime, cut into four wedges

Method

  1. Lay the fillet of fish on a cutting board, and with a sharp knife held at a 45-degree angle to the board, slice the fish slightly on the diagonal into twelve pieces of equal size and thickness. In Japanese, this cutting technique is called sogi-giri.
  2. Lay the slices of fish so that the surface of each piece is fully exposed on the board, then sift a light dusting of all-purpose flour over one side, then the other.
  3. In a bowl, combine the egg and enough ice water to make cup. Stir the curry powder into the self-rising flour, then sift this mixture over the egg-water. Stir to barely moisten; the batter should be lumpy.
  4. Fill a wok or other deep-fryer with 1½-2 inches of oil. Heat the oil to about 360 degrees. Test the temperature with a few drops of the batter: It should sink, then rise right away, puffing up on the surface of the oil with bubbles surrounding it. Dip the fish, one piece at a time, into the curry batter and then gently lower it into the oil. Fry two or three pieces of fish at one time. Turn the fish once or twice during the cooking time; 2-2½ minutes should be sufficient to cook the fish through and make the golden batter crisp. Drain the fish on paper towels.
  5. Repeat to fry all the fish. If you like, preheat your oven to 250 degrees and keep the first few batches warm in the oven while you continue to fry. Serve the fish hot, three pieces per person, with lime wedges on the side.

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