Dhaba Style Green Masala Fish Fry || Herbed Spicy Fish Fritters || Paleo Fish Fritters

Being a Keralan at heart, I always loved eating fish and all seafood. So incredibly tasty! And also so light on the stomach. This is the best part now on my Paleo diet. I eat fish 80% of the time for my protein and hence I am constantly looking out for new recipes. Well I have quite a bit of a stash of Kerala fish recipes but still any new fish recipe I see, I must try it! The recipe I am sharing today was developed due to that. I watched some youtube videos of street food vendors making fish fry and I saw one recipe that sent me salivating at midnight!

Fish first marinated in a mint and cilantro green masala and then deep fried by coating in a thick flour batter. All though mouthwatering, I needed to test grain free alternatives to flour. So the first time I tried by using tapioca starch. the coating was crispy however it didn’t hold well and came off easily. So this second time around, I decided to use cassava flour (which is also tapioca flour but it has all the fiber retained in it and hence its texture is different from tapioca starch which is more like corn starch). I added a bit of tapioca starch too to give some additional crispiness.

Pleased to present the recipe for Dhaba Style Masala Fish fry – paleo version! For non-paleo version, you can use all purpose flour, rice flour or chick pea flour for the batter

Dhaba Style Green Masala Fish Fry (Herbed Spicy Fish Fritters)
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
Crispy Spicy Fried Fish (Fish fritters) made by marinating fish first in a blend of herbs and spices and then frying it after coating with cassava flour batter
  • About 1 and ½ pounds fish (or fish filets) - Any fish is ok -I used cod fish
For the marinade masala:
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 green chili
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
For batter:
  • 2 tbsp cassava flour (I used Anthony's Goods)
  • 1 tsp Tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • Coconut Oil for frying
  1. Cut the fish into medium size pieces (about 1 inch by 2 inches). Dab dry and keep aside.
  2. Grind all ingredients listed under marinade to a paste. (It will be slightly coarse that's ok)
  3. In a bowl add the fish pieces and the marinade and using your hands coat fish pieces well with marinade. Keep aside at room temperature for unto 30 mins or in the fridge if longer than that (up to 3 hours)
  4. Fry fish just before serving. In a small bowl, mix all the batter ingredients and stir to get a thick batter.
  5. Heat a frying pan with the coconut oil (you can either deep fry or shallow fry - i prefer shallow frying as it takes less oil)
  6. Dip each fish piece in the batter coating it well on all sides and place in hot oil. Repeat with all the pieces. Fry the fish for about 2 -3 mins on each side until crispy on the outside flipping carefully to turn.
  7. Serve fried fish immediately!
For non-paleo version, you can use all purpose flour, rice flour or chick pea flour for the batter
Cut the fish pieces or the filets such that they are at least ½ inch thick.

Spicy Vegetable Tawa Pulao (Vegan)

dsc_0973Vegetable Pulao is a dish that you will find in every decent Indian cook’s repertoire.  It is so easy to put together and its a one pot dish!  Plus what I like about making pulao is that you can vary the amount or types of spices, use different combination of vegetables to come up with variations of the pulao so that it is never boring.  A vegetable Pulao is one item that always features in our potluck dinner gatherings with friends. It is one solid dish around which other curry dishes and appetizers truly become ‘sides’ but they all work perfectly well to complement each other !

In our home, at least every now and then on a weeknight, I tend to go the Pulao route. Mainly because of its ‘one pot’ quality.  This past week when I thought of making the pulao mid-week for dinner, I wanted to make a variation. So I thought of the famous ‘Tawa pulao’ which was popularized by Pav Bhaaji stalls(vendors) in Mumbai.  But it has quickly gained acceptance in other reputable restaurants too now. Tawa Pulao uses a large griddle (Tawa)  to cook the vegetables using the spicy Pav Bhaaji masala and then cooked rice is mixed with these vegetables on the same griddle along with lots of butter. Another unique thing about the Tawa pulao is that the vegetables having being cooked on a griddle along with loads of butter tend to be a bit crispy/crunchy on the outside and have tons of flavor! I used extra virgin olive oil to replace the butter.

dsc_0973Pan Bhaaji masala is an unique blend of 15-18 different indian spices like cumin,coriander,dry mango,ginger etc.  Tomatoes or tomato paste is one key ingredient when cooking the vegetables. Since I am avoiding tomatoes I used a few cranberries to get the tartness. And then on a whim, I decided to lightly sweeten the cranberries in maple syrup and threw in these sweetened cranberries also to top the pulao and to give it a thanksgiving feel 🙂

Spicy Vegetable Tawa Pulao (Vegan)

  • Servings: Serves 4-6
  • Time: about 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup long grain Basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (You can add fresh minced ginger too additionally)
  • 1/2 cup onion sliced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup capsicum (green pepper) slices
  • 1/2 green beans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp sea salt (as needed)
  •  2 tbsp Pav Bhaaji Masala ( I used Everest Brand)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sweetened cranberries and sliced almonds for garnish


Fill a large cooking pot with water and keep it for boiling.  Add a tsp of salt to the water. Drain the washed and soaked rice and add the rice to this boiling water. Cook rice on medium uncovered for about 8-10 minutes or until rice is tender but not too overcooked.

Drain rice immediately using a large strainer.  Keep drained rice aside to cool (uncovered)

In an other large bottomed cooking pot, heat the oil. Then add the onions and sauce for 2-3 minutes. Next add all the vegetables including the potato and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Next add the cranberries and the salt and spices. Mix well so that all vegetables are well coated with spices. Cover the pot with a lid and let cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.  Now check to see if the vegetables are cooked – they should be al dente – that is still retain a bit of crunchiness. Now add the cooled rice to this vegetable mixture slowly a little bit a time and  also drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil on top and continue to throughly mix the rice and the vegetables taking care not to mush up the vegetables. Check for seasoning – add salt or pepper as needed.

Serve Pulao warm topping with sweetened cranberries and sliced almonds on top!

To make sweetened cranberries:

In a small pot, add 1 tbsp water, pinch salt and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Add about 8-10 cranberries to this and cook on low for 2-3 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated and cranberries turn plump. Turn heat off.


Tawa Pulao





Mumbai Vada Paav with home made Paav

Mumbai Vada PaavOne of my favorite street foods in Mumbai is the  ‘Vada Paav’ or the poor man’s burger which is made with potatoes and chick pea flour.  Vada Paav is as basic to Mumbai as cheese burger is to America.  It is the most ubiquitous street food in Mumbai and you can find it almost at every street corner, at railway stations, near temples, next to parks and of course outside schools and colleges and offices. I am sure every Mumbai-ite will have a favorite joint that they solemnly swear by that makes the best ones in town! I do too! Whenever I visit Mumbai, I absolutely have got to have the vada paav from our  local street corner  vendor in the suburb of Chembur whose dry garlic chutney powder is the ultimate – the bomb! My dad indulges me by going out to get a parcel (vadapaav wrapped in newspaper) for me !

Thankfully I am married to a Mumbai-ite too who shares my passion for Vada paav and so we end up making it quite often in our kitchen:) This time I went one step ahead and decided to make the Paav (bread rolls) also at home. Omg! The home made rolls came out so perfect – very much like the freshly baked Paav you get in the streets of Mumbai.

Eggless PaavSo much better than the store bought burger buns or dinner rolls. Nothing like having hot potato vadas stuffed inside freshly baked rolls! And with the 3 different chutneys – red chili garlic chutney, green coriander chutney and tamarind date chutney slathered generously on them – I was in heaven!

Vada Paav

Linking to Throwback Thursdays. Also Linking to Fiesta Friday where 2 of my favorite co-bloggers – Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Apsara @ Eating Well Diary are co-hosting this week. Cheers!

Mumbai Vada Paav

  • Servings: Makes about 12 patties and 20 bread rolls
  • Time: about 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 4-5 small green chillies, chopped fine (use less for mild hot)
  • 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 large potatoes (or 5-6 medium), boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves chopped finely
  • 1 tsp lime juice

For the chick pea coating:

  • 1 cup chick pea flour or gram flour (besan)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
  • pinch baking soda
  • about 1 cup water


Heat a wok style pan or kadai and add the oil. When hot add the cumin, onions, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Stir fry for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat or until the onions are browned. Add salt and turmeric and stir well. Add the mashed potatoes and stir to incorporate the onion mixture with the potatoes. Add the cilantro and the lime juice.  Turn heat off and let this stuffing cool for about 15-20 minutes.

Take the cooled stuffing and make patties / balls.  Set them aside on a plate.

Heat a deep frying pan with oil.

Make the batter by mixing all the ingredients listed under batter except the water in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the water little bit at a time to get a smooth mixture without lumps. Batter should be thick to get a thick coating on the patty.

When the oil is hot, dip each patty in the batter to coat evenly and deep fry until golden on both sides. Drain well on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Home made Bread Rolls or Paav recipe (makes 20 rolls):

Adapted from thebakerupstairs

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (I used active dry yeast)
2 tablespoons sugar (I used cane sugar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
about 4 cups flour, more or less as needed
3 tablespoons ice cold water, for brushing on top


In a stand mixer bowl, add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Leave covered for 5 minutes until foamy. Then add 3 cups of flour, the salt and the oil. Start the mixer to bring the dough together. Continue adding little bit more flour at a time about 1/4 cup until you get a sticky dough. The dough should be formed but its should be sticky to touch. That’s when you stop adding the flour. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F ( 200 deg C)

Then punch the dough (the dough would have risen by now) and break into about 20 pieces. Line a baking tray (13 by 9 inches) with parchment paper. Place the rolls in the tray and keep aside for  an additional 15 minutes at room temperature to rise.

Brush the rolls with ice cold water and place the tray in the oven and bake at 400 Deg F for about 12-15 minutes (check after 12 minutes) until the tops are golden brown.

For assembling the Vada Paavs:

Take a bread roll and spread with green chutney on one side and tamarind chutney on the other side. Place the potato patty in between and top the patty with the dry garlic chutney. (See recipes for all 3 chutneys given below)

Home made PaavEggless Paav batata vada

IMG_2767Recipe for green chutney:

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp peanuts (or roasted chana dal)
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut(optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Add all ingredients to food processor and blend to get smooth paste.

Recipe for dry garlic chutney:

  • 8-10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut grated
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp peanuts, roasted
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tiny (penny size ) piece of tamarind
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Dry roast separately the garlic, the coconut and the sesame seeds until brown.

Transfer all ingredients to a food processor/dry grinder and blend till coarse.

Recipe for tamarind date chutney:

  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • quarter size piece of tamarind (pit removed) soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you get a smooth puree


Mumbai Vada Paav






Tangy Mixed Vegetable soup (Paav Bhaaji)

Tangy Mixed Vegetable soup
Tangy Mixed Vegetable soup

Sunday nights are usually soup and bread nights in our house and usually I will also make some fresh bread to go with the soup.  Today I made a soup that is a slight variation of the Indian spicy vegetable dish – “Paav bhaji”. What that means is Bread(paav) and bhaji (spicy vegetable curry).  My kids love paav bhaaji and hence its a good way to get them to eat their veggies. So today I decided to bake some fresh bread rolls and make a ‘paav bhaaji’ flavored vegetable soup to go with them.  You can use any mix of the different vegetables I have used but the flavor of this soup is mainly due to the blended combination of these different vegetables. I have used ‘Paav bhaaji masala’ which you will find in Indian grocery stores. This masala is a blend of many different spices and lends a spicy and tangy taste to the soup. But even without it , the soup will still taste good if you add enough lime juice to make it tangy.

This recipe will make about 4 servings of soup.
2 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup chopped peas
1/2 cup chopped yellow squash or pumpkin
1/4 cup green pepper chopped
1 medium size potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium size tomato chopped(about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or cayenne pepper powder)
(Use 1/4 tsp if you want it mild and not too hot)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
3 cups water
1/2 of a medium size onion chopped finely
1 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped (or grated) or ginger paste
1 tbsp fresh garlic finely chopped or garlic paste
1 tsp salt (or per taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste (or tomato puree)
1 tsp Paav bhaaji masala (optional)
1 tsp fresh lime juice
For garnish
lime pieces
fresh cilantro chopped


Take all the vegetables, tomatoes, the red chilli powder, the turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and add the water and cook either in a pressure cooker (3 whistles) or on medium heat covered till the vegetables are all soft and well-cooked.

Next take a medium size cooking pot and add the olive oil.  Then add the onions and saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes till translucent. Then add the ginger and the garlic and again saute for about 1 minute.  Then add the paav bhaji masala (if using) and roast for about 30 seconds and then add the tomato paste and saute for about 1 minute.  Now add the cooked vegetables to this and mix well. Cook for about another 2-3 minutes adding more water to get the soup to your desired consistency.   If you want a smooth pureed soup, you can blend this in a blender.  I just used a potato masher to mash all the vegetables and get a chunky soup.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and a lime wedges and serve hot with fresh bread rolls.