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Spiced Mackerel with Vegetable Raita


  • 8 mackerel fillets, weighing about 100g (3oz) each

  • For the spice paste

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 hot dried chilli, roughly chopped, deseeded if wished

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp unrefined soft dark brown sugar

  • For the vegetable raita

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced

  • 1 plum tomato, deseeded and diced

  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped

  • 1 cooked potato, peeled and diced

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, dry-roasted

  • 425ml (16fl oz) Greek-style yogurt

  • 1 tbsp chopped mint

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • For the mackerel:

  • 1.

    To make the spice paste, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat, then add the seeds and peppercorns and toast, shaking from time to time, for 2/3 minutes until the mustard seeds are popping and the spices are aromatic. (You may need to cover the frying pan to stop the mustard seeds jumping.)

  • 2.

    Blend the toasted spices with the chilli to a smooth powder in a coffee grinder or with a pestle and mortar.

  • 3.

    Combine the powder with salt and the brown sugar. Store in an airtight container until needed.

  • 4.

    Half an hour before cooking the fish, lightly sprinkle both sides of each mackerel fillet with the spice mixture - about 2 tsp per fillet. Store any remaining spice mixture for future use.

  • 5.

    For ease of turning, place the fillets in a metal hinged rack and cook on a hot barbecue for 1 or 2 minutes each side until lightly charred and firm to the touch. Serve with vegetable raita.

  • For the Vegetable Raita:

  • 1.

    Combine all the ingredients. Season to taste, cover and chill until required.

  • 2.

    To store, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

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