Monday, August 1, 2011

Mackerel tikka masala

I cycled out to Cramond the other day, and Gemma came to meet me with the kids. For anyone who doesn't know it, Cramond is a village on the Forth estuary, just outside Edinburgh. There is a small island just off the coast, connected to it by a causeway which is only passable at low tide. As the tide was going out when we arrived, we decided to wander across. Looking down into the water by the causeway, we spotted several large mackerel which appeared to have been cut off by the retreating tide - on one side was the concrete causeway, and on the other mud flats with no obvious channel through them. Sammy and Carmela, who were already out on the mudflats, came over and guddled a couple of beautiful mackerel - each of which weighed in at exactly 12.5 oz (350 g) after gutting.

the one that didn't get away

The kids were amazed to see how the fish changed from light green when still alive to a deep purple after death, returning back to an almost turquoise hue an hour or so later. They were also intrigued by the way in which the fish gradually 'stiffened' as we made our way back along the causeway.

rigor mortis

I don't know if this is a regular occurrence or not - the only local we spotted taking part in the free feast was a grey heron, which glided in and greedily gulped down a medium-sized fish. We were a little more discreet, bringing ours home and putting them in a simple 'tikka massala' marinade before cooking them in tinfoil parcels.

2 large or 4 smallish mackerel - the fresher, the better!
1 pot of yoghurt
4 tablespoons of readymade tikka massala paste (or use your own mix of aromatic spices, chopped ginger, garlic and chilli)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  1. Mix the yoghurt, tikka masala paste and oil in a bowl.
  2. Make several slits in the sides of the gutted, cleaned mackerel, cover the mackerel with the marinade mixture and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat your oven to 190oC.
  4. Wrap each of the mackerel in tinfoil to make a baggy parcel, containing plenty of the marinade mixture. Bake for 20 minutes if your fish are large, 15 minutes if they are smaller.

marinading mackerel

plated up (if a little blurry)

down to the bones

Cramond island from the shore


Madalen Goiria said...

I've followed the whole story with gusto. I never knew you could marinate in yoghurt. It looks delicious to me. Back to the island for nore soon?
Nice one

Tim in the Kitchen said...

Yes. I love mackerel, but I'm not that keen on frying or grilling it in the house. A spicy yoghurt marinade goes really well with mackerel, which is quite oily and has plenty of flavour of its own.