This Indian-inspired dish has it all, crispy skinned, plump hake, a zingy coriander pesto and creamy, warming coconut dal. This is a great dish to whip up when you have friends over as the lentils and pesto can be cooked in advance, leaving you plenty of time to focus on getting that skin lovely and crispy.
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Here's how you do it
Heat a glug of oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds. Cook for a few moments until they pop and splutter, then add the chopped onion and 1/2 the crushed garlic. Fry over a medium/ low heat for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent, taking care not to burn the garlic. Next add all the ground spices and cook for a further 1 minute then add the lentils, 600ml water and coconut milk. Simmer for 20 minutes, adding a little water if necessary.
Meanwhile, in a pestle and mortar or food processor, make a quick pesto. Bash up or blitz the coriander, parsley, the remaining garlic, a glug of oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt and ground black pepper to form a thin paste, loosening with a little more oil if necessary. Set aside.
Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Season the hake fillets on both sides then place in the pan skin side down. Once the skin starts to crisp, add the butter to the pan. Once the butter starts to bubble tip the pan away from you and spoon the butter over the fillet. Flip after 2-4 minutes and cook on the other side.
Once crispy on the outside but tender and flakey inside, remove the hake from the pan. Serve on top of the dal with a good dollop of herby pesto.
Chef's tip: thin down any leftover dal with a little more coconut milk or water and enjoy as a wonderful lentil soup with warm flatbread
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 hake fillets
150g red lentils
200ml coconut milk
30g fresh coriander, chopped
30g fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground ginger
From the larder
1 tsp mustard seeds
The juice from 1/2 lemon
A few glugs of plain oil (vegetable, olive or sunflower)