Spiced Sesame Fish Bites

This is an appetising first course of hot curried fish balls rolled in sesame seeds and dressed with oil and lemon, served with cold spiced yoghurt sauce. They can be made in advance and re-heated or kept hot until you are ready to eat them. If you have not got all the spices just use the ones you have, even if you have only got curry powder. Patak’s Tikka paste which is used in the sauce is worth looking for in an Indian grocers. It is milder and much better tasting than usual curry pastes and is very useful for brushing over meat and chicken which you are going to grill or barbecue, as well as adding to curries and sauces. If you can’t get it for this sauce you can use a combination of the spices used in the fish balls.

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb filleted white-skinned plaice (350 g)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered coriander
  • 2–3 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small egg – lightly beaten
  • about 2 oz sesame seeds (50 g)
  • a handful of roughly chopped parsley – or if you have an Indian grocer who has fresh coriander leaves they are really good for this recipe.

For the Sauce

  • ½ pint plain yoghurt (275 ml)
  • 3–4 teaspoons Patak’s Tikka paste – or a combination of spices used in the fish balls plus 1–2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt, black pepper

Method

Put the fish through a mincer or if you have not got one cut it up as small as possible. Mix the fish and the salt, crushed garlic and spices into a mixing bowl together. Stir in the lightly beaten egg thoroughly. Spread the sesame seeds out on to a large board. Gather the fish mixture up into small balls and roll lightly on the sesame seeds so that they are thinly coated. Brush the bottom of a roasting pan with oil and put in the balls. Spoon a little oil on top of each and bake in the centre of the oven at Gas 5 (375°F/190°C) for 20–25 minutes. Remove the balls from the roasting pan, leaving behind any juice that has come out of them during cooking. Arrange them on a shallow serving dish and keep warm. Mix up a dressing of one third lemon juice, two thirds olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the fish balls and sprinkle them with parsley, or coriander leaves. Serve with a bowl of yoghurt sauce which you have mixed up beforehand.

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