Our default dipping sauce for fried fish is sweet chili sauce. They’re just such perfect partners. But, sometimes, the palate wants something different — a break from the usual. So, for last night’s dinner, it was fried fish with tangy yogurt and cucumber sauce.
It was gorgeous. The fish fried until crisp and sauce — with the subtle sweetness of the cucumbers and the citrusy notes from the lime juice and dill — made a wonderfully refreshing meal.
The funny thing is, while Googling around for inspiration earlier before I started cooking, I got strange results when using the key phrase “fish yogurt”. According to some claims, it is an unhealthy combination. And I go, “What??” I never heard of such thing before! I dug around a bit and realized that it’s an ayurveda thing.
Ayurveda, of course, is a form of alternative medicine from the Indian subcontinent. It is ancient and it has its roots in religion. I found a thread in Quora about “Can we consume yogurt with fish in a meal?” The responders, mostly from India (and obviously not some self-proclaimed dogmatic gurus), call the fish-yogurt no-no nothing but a superstition.
This is a food blog and there is no room for superstition here. I deal with facts. And, the fact is, fried fish with tangy yogurt and cucumber sauce is delicious. The sauce is cooling rather than warming — perfect for such a humid day.
I used fish fillet for last night’s dinner. Speedy bought a large whole fish which I filleted. The two fillets were cut into smaller pieces, seasoned simply with salt and pepper, dredged in flour and fried.
You don’t have to use fillets — you can go with whole fish (tilapia would be wonderful) or fish steaks.
You don’t have to fry the fish either. Grilled fish will be just as good — better, in fact, if char-grilled which will give the fish a natural smoky flavor.
While frying the fish, I asked Alex to make the sauce: grated cucumber, plain yogurt, minced garlic, lime juice and dill. Yes, just like Greek tzatziki except that this sauce has more cucumber than what goes into tzatziki. I didn’t use Greek yogurt either which is obscenely expensive in my part of the world. Just plain yogurt and it did the job well.
Tangy Cucumber Yogurt and Cucumber SaucePrint Pin
- 2 whole cucumbers
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lime juice or use lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill (double the amount if using fresh)
- Split the cucumbers lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Grate the cucumbers coarsely.
- Dump the grated cucumbers into a bowl and stir in the yogurt.
- Mince the garlic. Stir into the cucumber-yogurt mixture.
- Drizzle in the lime or lemon juice. Add the dill. Mix.
- Taste the sauce. If you want it more tangy, add more lime or lemon juice. If you prefer a bit of saltiness, sprinkle in a little salt and stir. Adjust to your heart's delight. You're the one who's going to eat it so had better like the way it tastes.
- Arrange your fried fish on a platter. Serve the sauce on the side.
And just what did I do with the fish head, tail and bones? I made soup. With plenty of ginger and sili (chili) leaves. Just like the way I like to cook mussels.