Mrs Balbir Singh's | Grilled Tandoori Pomfret

Mrs Balbir Singh's | Grilled Tandoori Pomfret Fish Recipe

Grilled Tandoori Pomfret

Tandoori Machchi (literally Tandoori Fish) is frequently made using the Pomfret fish in Punjab, but you can easily switch this out for Chilean sea bass, Barramundi or your fish of choice.

This is a popular delicacy which is the speciality of the cooks that migrated from Peshawar to India. The fish is traditionally cooked in a clay tandoor oven but can be cooked equally well on an open fire, bbq, or under the grill (or broiler).

Category: Indian Fish Dishes 

Recipe: 075

Ingredients for rubbing over

  • 3 whole Pomfret Fish (or your preferred alternative), weighing about 340g (12oz) each.
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Salt

Ingredients for the marinade

  • 4 tsp (15g) Mrs Balbir Singh's Tandoori Rub
  • 2 tsp Vinegar
  • 6 Large Garlic Cloves 
  • 7g (1/4oz) Fresh Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • A pinch of Natural Tomato Colouring (or Tomato Puree) 
  • 30g (1oz) Ghee (or preferred oil) 
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste

Ingredients for sprinkling on the fish


Step 1:  prepare the fish

If not already prepared from your fishmonger or supermarket, wash, trim and clean the fish. Wipe with a dry cloth or paper towel, and make cuts as shown in the above image. Rub in 1 teaspoon of salt mixed in 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Leave for half an hour.   


Step 2:  make the marinade

Grind the garlic, ginger and tandoori rub spice blend to a fine paste. Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and 2 teaspoons of vinegar and mix well. Rub this mixture well over the whole surface and in the cuts of the fish. Leave the fish in the marinade for one but preferably two hours. 


Step 3: grilling and finishing

Place the fish on parchment paper or non-stick foil and grill for 10-15 minutes under the grill or boiler if cooking indoors. Alternatively, you can cook this over an indoor or outdoor bbq grill in a fish basket. Remove the fish from the grill. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of the tandoori spice blend rub into two teaspoons of melted ghee and drizzle this over the fish. Place your fish back under (or on) the grill for a further 5-6 minutes depending on the temperature of your grill or the proximity of the fish to the heat source, watching for it to get just a little charred as shown. 

Step 4: serving suggestion

Serve with fresh mint and coriander chutney, and a salad of onion rings, chopped mint leaves, and chopped deseeded green chillies (optional), a dash of white pepper, salt and lime juice. 


Mrs Balbir Singh 
Award-winning godmother of Indian home cooking, and author of Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery, as featured in "The Best Indian Cookbooks Ever, as Judged by the Experts" - The Telegraph (UK)