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An Indian Style Whitebait Recipe

You are going to love this whitebait recipe – I promise!

whitebait recipes - Jennifer loves this one

This is a great starter for kids!

Put a plate of hot whitebait in front of me and I’m a very happy man. I’d never even heard of whitebait until I was 27 and saw it on the menu in a Soho restaurant. We have a lot of great seafood back home in California but whitebait isn’t one I knew.

I loved it from the first bite and now order it regularly. So when I saw some fresh whitebait at my local fishmonger today, I decided it was time to make it again.

If you’ve been following my blog over the past few days, you will know that I’m currently having a lot of fun with some smoked spices that were sent to me from a company call Besmoke. Besmoke smoke the spices and then package them for retail sale. In fact we are planning a new range of lightly smoked ‘The Curry Guy’ spice mixes so watch this space!

One of the spice mixes we are developing is a smoky version of my curry powder recipe. This spice mix will make it possible to create curries that taste as if they were cooked over a fire or slowly simmered in a tandoor oven. I can hardly wait.

whitebait recipes - this one rocks

Nice one!

Today, however I decided to blend the smoky single spices Besmoke sent me following my curry powder recipe. You could do this with normal or smoky spices if you have them. Alternatively, use a good quality store bought curry powder or garam masala.

You don’t need much so a store bought curry powder will do the job just fine if you can’t be bothered to make your own.

You will need paper towels and a slotted spoon for this recipe.

Serves 4


450g whitebait
Vegetable oil for deep frying

6 tablespoons white flour
1 tablespoon curry powder or garam masala
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon white cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt to taste

Lemon or lime wedges for serving


Combine all the ingredients for the flour mixture in a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a large wok until a small piece of bread sizzles and browns in about 25 seconds.

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Coat the whitebait in batches with the flour. You want to shake them in your hand to get as much of the loose flour off before adding them to the oil.

Fry until golden brown and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

As you can see, I served this on a bed of red onions that were marinated in the juice of one lime for about an hour in the fridge.

Disclaimer:The smoked spices used in this recipes were supplied by Besmoke free of charge for me to try.

masala whitebait recipe

Tuesday 12th of August 2014

Looks so delicious.


Wednesday 15th of December 2021

@Dan Toombs, This is a good one; always good, but then goes up from there to dizzying heights of amazing. Did you ever go the other way and have the dried whitebait which you fry in the oil from the popadoms and things? What they do is have things like spices and things and they deep fry them quickly and have them as snacks alongside the other dinner. I don't know what the high flavoured things are but they're quite varied. If you're going to get all of the stuff on the go with all of the time, effort, mess, etc., it's well worth taking an extra three minutes. Everyone knows Indian food's best on the second, third or fourth attempt. It's science!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

Thanks Ivor. :-)