Fish Masala with Spiced Lentils, Lime Creme Fraiche.

Fish Masala with Spiced Lentils. Getty
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2 main 4 a starter

A delightful dish which makes a great meal at any time of day (well, perhaps not for breakfast). Fish can stand up really well to mild spices. Should you use any stronger spicing, this will dominate the fish rather than support it as in this recipe.  

Use a good fleshy round fish such as bream, cod or salmon. Choose your fish carefully and make sure it is supremely fresh, the best way to ensure this is to make friends with your fishmonger. If you don't have a fishmonger locally, then do check out my hints and tips on choosing and buying fish.

This Fish Masala with Spiced Lentils recipe comes courtesy of  Cooks the Carlton School of Food in Yorkshire.


  • 4 fish fillets, skin on, black bream, cod and wild salmon work well
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 Carrots (chopped)
  • 2 sticks celery (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200 g / 7 oz Puy lentils
  • 1 tsp white mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2L / 8 cups dark chicken stock
  • 3 limes
  • 1 bunch coriander.
  • 100ml / ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 cucumber

Steps to Make It

Rinse the lentils in cold water. Dust the bream with the Garam Masala.

Chop the onion, carrots, and celery into a small dice. Crush the garlic. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy pan and sweat the garlic and the onions.

Add mustard seed cover pan and shake, now add carrot, celery and the remaining spices.

Cook until the vegetables are translucent, then add the drained lentils and stir well.

Add ¾ of stock or enough to cover leave on a low heat just simmering for 20 / 30 minutes until soft to the bite, occasionally adding stock if needed.

Peel the cucumber into long, thin strips using a potato peeler.

Heat a non stick pan until very hot and add a dash of vegetable oil.

Carefully place the bream skin side down and sear for around 2 minutes.  Turn the fish carefully on to the flesh side and cook for a further minute.  Add a small knob of butter and take the pan from the heat

Grate the limes on a fine grater the add the zest plus the juice of the limes to the crème fraiche. Stir a knob of butter into the lentils and finally, add the chopped coriander. Check for seasoning.

Place a good spoonful of lentils onto the plate, top with the fish and the cucumber in the centre of the plate and either  drizzle with the crème fraiche or serve on the side.

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