“Poached Mackerel? Are You Mad?”


That would be a natural reaction, unless you are a seafood lover who doesn’t mind a strong fishy flavour.

It’s no wonder then that restaurants in Mumbai limit themselves to mostly frying it, coated with a turmeric and red chilly powder marinade. The die-hard seafood restaurants, and I refer to the Gomantak and Malvan variety, offer a mackerel curry too. Unfortunately,  it’s too lowbrow for some of the swishy high-end set and that’s a pity.

The Malvani curry is often enhanced with the fiery tirphal, the cousin of the Sichuan pepper, and hides any fishy-ness completely mostly because your tongue has gone numb.

I was surprised to see mackerel on the shelves in supermarkets in the UK. One such frozen delight from Sainsbury’s was drowned in butter and crushed pepper. On heating, oodles of butter unfroze and everything was soon swimming in it. Not complaining, it worked for me. Yumm.

My mom does a very simple crushed garlic and ginger broth, which she reduces before popping the mackerel in. After simmering for about ten minutes, she pops the pot into a hot oven for fifteen, turning often so that you get an even crust. It’s always a joy to cut through the crust and dig into the softness.

In my pursuit of omega 3 rich oils that helps make one really clever, I consume it often enough to state that I’m a great fan. And I keep trying newer ways to indulge in this fetish. So here’s my latest, fresh-off-the-stove recipe for you to try:

poached mackerel fresh garlic teriyaki

Hmmm mackerel, high on my yumminess factor

Ingredients: 3 mackerels, cleaned; 50g fresh garlic with stems; 2” piece of ginger, crushed then finely chopped; 1 green chilly, finely chopped; teriyaki sauce; 500 ml water.

Method: Marinate the mackerels in the teriyaki sauce for about an hour. In the meanwhile, cut the garlic cloves from the stems and put them through a garlic press. Cut the garlic stems into 1 cm sized pieces. Put the crushed garlic, garlic stems, green chilly and the ginger in a pot with water and simmer till it gets reduced to half. Put the mackerels in, continue simmering for about 10 minutes.

Serve with steamed rice.


11 thoughts on ““Poached Mackerel? Are You Mad?”

  1. To cook them, Fillet the mackerel, wrap it in streaky bacon and grill (broil to the Americans). It is very tasty. The gooseberry reduction is the true champion companion for fresh mackerel though.

  2. I love the flavors in this recipe–I think fish works best with minimum treatment, and this is an excellent example. I’ve only just found your blog, and it looks like I’m going to spend quite some time on it today. 🙂

  3. Smoked peppered mackerel has always been a favourite of mine. It’s very versatile, quite inexpensive, and can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, I make a simple kedgeree with rice, spinach, a hard-boiled egg, and a bit of spicy tomato sauce. It’s delicious, nutritious, and quick to make.

    The other way to use it is to make a paté. Put the mackerel fillets in a food processor, a dash of olive oil, some softened butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, paprika, and zap it for 30 seconds. Serve it to guests with some crackers and tell them you bought it at Harrods!! They’ll be none the wiser!!!

  4. I grew up beside the sea here in Ireland. Trust me, there is no finer fish than a mackerel you have caught yourself eaten within a couple of hours of the catching. They are delicious grilled with streaky bacon or served with a gooseberry reduction. The gooseberries come into season just as the mackerel start appearing near the shore.

    If they are not really fresh, they become quite hard flavoured and smelly. Not a good way to eat them.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. Grilled with streaky bacon? Now that’s very interesting! Would love to give it a try … How do you do it?

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