Whiting with Coconut and Fennel Spiced Lentils


I was thinking fish for dinner Friday night, on my way walking past a restaurant menu on Friday which features Cod with Spiced Lentils.

The fish stall in the market had  plenty of large whole Whiting as member of the cod family but plentiful around the British Isles, however due to it’s lower popularity and therefore value it is one of the fish most often discarded dead or to die in the hunt for more popular cod – highlighted recently in Hugh F-W Fish Fight Campaign


 I love buying fish whole and practicing my filleting which doensn’t seem to be getting better but is certainly less scary . The whiting was a big fish 50cm long with delicate aqua skin, no thick scales to scrape.


I knew I wanted to use fennel with the lentils, it has just started appearing in the vegebox. I thought about spicing them paprika ( more chorizo!) or  even just some fresh lemon but in the end I went for some garam masala spice with coconut milk to a little nutty creaminess

Although I added some spice paste to the grilling fish it did not overpower it , it tasted pretty similar to cod though maybe a little fishier. Definitely going to try it roasted with potatoes,

other Whiting recipes

Roast Whiting with Shrimp Butter ( from Hugh FW)

Whiting and Potato Fritters (Mark Hix)
Whiting Ceviche ( Mark Hix)

Garam Masala Whiting with Coconut and Fennel Spiced Lentils

4 people

1 whole whiting filleted into four fillets

1/2 bulb of fennel leaves and stalks finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
200ml of coconut milk
200ml of vegetable stock
10 strands of fresh coriander stalks and leaves
150g of green lentils
150g of red lentils

Spice Paste
1 tbsp of garam masala
1 tbsp of mustard seeds
2 tbsp of sunflower oil
1 tbsp of tumeric
Zest and juice of half a lemon

Spice Paste

  1. Heat the garam masala, tumeric and mustard seeds in a warm pan
  2. Once the spices are warm and fragrant add the sunflower oil and the lemon zest
  3. Turn off the heat.

Coconut and Fennel Spiced Lentils

  1. Fry the fennel in half the  spice mix
  2. Add the lentils , stock and coconut milk
  3. Simmer until the lentils have absorbed all the stock ( approx 20 minutes)
  4. Add the lemon juice and stir in the herbs ( fennel and coriander leaves)

Garam Masala Whiting

  1. Grill the whiting fillets skin side up first , for two minutes
  2. Turn over & spread spice paste over the flesh side
  3. Grill for a further minute and remove from the heat

Serve the fish on top of the lentils


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One Response to Whiting with Coconut and Fennel Spiced Lentils

  1. Corina says:

    The spice paste on the fish looks just delicious. I’m about to try some filleting for the first time this evening – not whiting but mackrel – hope I can get it right.

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