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Roast hake with curried puy lentils, shallot bhaji and mint yogurt, by Ian Leckie

20 January 2010

This recipe for roast hake comes from Ian Leckie, head chef at Sam's Brasserie and Bar, London W4.

(Serves four)

4 x 150g portions of hake (or any other firm white fish, such as cod)

For the lentils

  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1tbs canola or olive oil
  • 1tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 1tsp garam masala or curry powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups of puy lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1tsp salt
  • Baby spinach (to finish the dish)

For the mint yogurt

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
  • 1tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

For the bhajis- 4 large shallots, sliced

  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups chickpea flour or all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2tbs fresh coriander, chopped
  • A splash of milk if the mix is too thick
  • Vegetable oil for frying


For the lentils

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, leek and celery and stir until softened.

Mix in the garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric and garam masala or curry powder. Add the lentils, water and salt and stir well.

Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until they are soft (add salt to taste).

For the mint yogurt

In a small bowl stir together the yogurt, chopped mint, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper until well mixed. Serve immediately or chill for a while to let the flavours come together.

For the bhajis

Beat the egg in a bowl. Add the shallots and mix well. Next, add the flour, coriander and cumin and stir well to combine.

Heat some oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add a large spoonful of the bhaji mixture and fry for 30-45 seconds until golden brown.

Turn the bhaji over and fry for a further 30 seconds until crisp and golden brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Repeat with the remaining bhaji mixture, replenishing the oil in the pan if it runs low and allowing it to heat up again.

For the fish

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Place the fish skin side down and cook for about one minute.

If using an oven-safe pan, place it directly into a pre-heated oven (200°C or gas mark 6) for 7-8 minutes, otherwise transfer to a roasting tin.

Remove from the oven and turn over (using the residual heat in the pan/tin to finish cooking the fish).

To serve

Lay the fish on a bed of lentils, adding a little spinach for colour. Place the bhaji on top, drizzle the mint yogurt around the plate and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Optional: Garnish the lentils with chopped coriander and a small amount of lemon zest

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