Shananana, yeah.  Shananana!  For some reason I feel like singing everything right now.  So, just pretend that this has a melody.  I’ve always felt life would be more fun if it were a musical.  Don’t you?

Actually, last week Joel and I went out for ice cream and our scooper (is that what you call the people who scoop your ice cream?) sang “what can I get for you?”  So, we sang our orders back, and he was so excited (apparently no one else was responding to him in song) that he gave us our ice cream for free – after an extended operatic interlude in which we discussed sizes and toppings and I tried to insist on paying.  We got a lot of stares from the other people in the ice cream store.

And, now I’m in a singing mood again.  I’ve been feeling very chipper ever since I did yoga in our backyard yesterday.  Yoga outside appears to be like a happy drug.  Who knew?!

And you know what else is like a happy drug?  Pickled onions.  I suppose they may not have this effect on everyone, but I keep getting really excited about them.  Ever since I pickled shallots to have with broccoli the other day I have been living a pickled onion dream!  The perfectly pink pickled onions on these sandwiches are no exception.

Actually, everything about these sandwiches worked out dreamily.  I’m thinking they were meant to be.  You see, I actually originally made these onions to go with tacos that I cooked up for some dinner guests.  But, I completely forgot to put them out with the rest of the taco toppings.  (I’ve been even spacier than usual lately, and this is just one more example, I guess).  I discovered my oversight the next day and decided that I would have to use them in something else.  Suddenly sandwiches with sweet-sour onion pickles seemed to be the order of the day.

I rummaged through the freezer and uncovered some frozen filets of sole and the extra flatbread that I had baked.  A plan began to take shape in my mind.  A plan involving warm, heady Indian spices by the handful, crisply seared fish, crunchy pickled onions, creamy yogurt, all gently tucked into soft rounds of bread.  This was sounding like a really good plan…

And it was.  These fish sandwiches are a fireworks display of flavors – cumin, turmeric, chilis, ginger, cilantro, garlic, a squirt of lime, pow, pow, pow! Bursting in your mouth in gorgeous cascades.  And, in fact, they have some of the brilliant colors of a fireworks display too, or perhaps the colors of a showy tropical bird, what with the playful magenta of the onions and green of the herbs, set against the yellow of the fish and soft cream of the bread.  And, a brilliant white dollop of plain yogurt, since I can’t seem to resist adding yogurt to everything these days, ties it all together with cool, refreshing tang.

I love making spice-rubs for fish filets and then broiling them or pan searing them.  It’s a sure fire way of adding an enormous amount of flavor without the planning ahead necessary for a marinade.  And, I like the crust the spices form in response to the heat (and butter) in the pan.  The pickled onions do require a little planning ahead, since they should sit overnight for the best flavor, but they take only a few minutes to make, and then you are free to promptly forget about them for as long as you’d like (provided it’s less than a month or so!) until you need them for dinner.

I skipped adding lettuce to my sandwiches because I used cilantro by the bunch, which basically substituted for lettuce.  But, I am a self-admitted cilantro fiend, and I know not everybody loves cilantro in vast quantities, so I won’t stop you from adding a little less cilantro and maybe some shredded lettuce for extra green, or perhaps some chutney, or a sprinkling of toasted coconut.  There is such a swirl of bold flavors here, I think in this case more may, in fact, be more, as long as you keep with the South Asian flavor profile.

So go ahead and try them, and see if you don’t just suddenly find that you feel like singing.

Indian Spiced Fish Sandwiches (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. (or a little more) filets of any delicate white fish (sole, catfish, line-caught Haddock)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. each ground cumin, coriander, chile powder, turmeric
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. each ground ginger, ground mustard, salt, and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • butter or olive oil for frying
  • 4 pieces of naan or other soft flatbread
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, for serving
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters, for serving
  • pickled red onion (see below), for serving
  • plain Greek-style yogurt, for serving
  1. Mix together all the spices and the flour in a shallow pan.
  2. Pat your fish filets dry with a towel or paper towel.  Then, dredge each filet in the spice mixture until well covered.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat a couple of Tbs. of butter or olive oil over medium high heat.  When the butter is foaming (or the oil is shimmering), add the fish and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until cooked through (it will flake easily with a fork).
  4. Divide the fish between the 4 pieces of flatbread.  Squirt the lime juice all over the fish.  Then, top with cilantro, pickled onion, and yogurt.  Roll up (actually, we kind of more ate them gently folded like a taco shell) and enjoy!  They’re pretty stuffed full so you have to eat them carefully, or else messily, whichever you prefer.
Pickled red onion
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  1. Put the onion in a heat proof bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon.  Bring this just to a boil.  Then, remove from the heat and pour over the onion.  Cover and let come to room temperature.
  3. Then, either refrigerate overnight in the bowl, or if you’re planning on waiting for longer to use them, transfer the onion slices with the liquid to a jar and keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.
  4. Also, when you’re using them, make sure you keep all the liquid so that if you don’t use them up you can keep storing them in the liquid and using them for all sorts of things, like tacos, salads, other sandwiches, etc.
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78 Responses to Indian spiced fish sandwiches

  1. JWiggles says:

    These look beautiful!

  2. Eileen says:

    Will you be my new best friend? Anyone who sings in the ice cream parlor & does yoga on the lawn, is my kind of gal!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Aw shucks! Thanks. I have a fun time, and I always love to know others who embrace things like yoga outside and general goofiness!

      • Eileen says:

        I was on a road trip out west & we stopped at a rest area that had a prairie dog colony. Stiff & sore from the long drive, I stepped onto the grass to do a little yoga. The prairie dogs disappeared into their holes, but as I slowly moved through my poses, little heads popped up & then whole bodies. My husband said that soon it looked like I was leading a class for the prairie dogs. They were entranced. That might be my favorite yoga memory (and I love yoga).

      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Wow! That’s totally awesome! I love the mental image of prairie dogs doing yoga – adorable! I love yoga too, but have mostly done it indoors. But, that is about to change…

  3. chaoscuisine says:

    I love the flavors as much as the colors. And the pickled onions will add crunchy sweetness to many things. Yum.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh yes! I’ve been adding the pickled onions to so many things! They’ve been delicious in salads, and also on burgers, MmmmMmm.

  4. branny says:

    I made these last night. I omitted the onions (unfortunately! My grocery store didnt have any) and added plain yogurt. Yum!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      I’m so happy to hear you liked them. I really hope you get a chance to try the pickled onions sometime, they add a whole additional dimension!

  5. […] Fish Naanwiches Serves 4 Just the Tip / Inspired by Five and Spice […]

  6. Aisiri says:

    I’m a vegetarian :( 😛 Anyway, I am an Indian too and I am thinking about putting a few simple recipes on my blog, truly Indian style. Hope you get the time to check them out :)

  7. Love love love the idea of pickled onions! I love the flavor of onions but eating them plain/raw can be a bit too much. Can’t wait to try this!

  8. […] it onto the table. Missed the window? better luck next Thanksgiving. I did just see a recipe for pickled onions that I’m going to try to work into the rotation, […]

  9. This sounds way better than yoga in our back yard. It was 100 degrees yesterday. Although, maybe we could charge for sauna yoga. I love the flavors you used in the dish. Very inventive and cool.

  10. foodjaunts says:

    Sounds awesome. I’m always on the lookout for new interesting fish recipes since my husband hates fish but I make him eat it once a week :) This is going on my meal plan and soon!

  11. trialsinfood says:

    mmm…that looks good! my mouth is watering as we speak!

  12. hijabeng says:

    OMG that looks amazing! Just stumbled across your blog today and I had to comment – that spice rub is *exactly* how many bengali fish dishes are prepared (except we fry the fish in oil and then devour ’em like french fries until the mom yells at the kids and puts the survivors in a sauce prepared from sauteed onions, tomatoes and cilantro, yum).

  13. I like Indian spices very much, thanks a lot. Nice photos.

  14. Abby says:

    That sandwich looks amazing. I’m definitely going to pickle some onions for my next taco night.

  15. ournote2self says:

    Looks good! (I sing in my best singing voice.) 😉

  16. Ron says:

    mmm looks tasty:)

  17. apocalypsecakes says:

    I want this. And I love your photos. But you need dessert.

  18. Eva McCane says:

    that looks super tasty! i’m going to have to convince somebody to make it for me since I’m a horrible cook.

  19. stormskyblue says:

    Marvelous! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. What a wonderful time with your singing scooper! I agree. Life is like a musical, a cartoon, a play and a novel all rolled into one. Why doesn’t everyone see that? Your writing placed a joyful feeling in my heart. Thank you.

  20. The Mouse says:

    I like your recipe for the pickles. Gonna have to try it soon. Can the pickling recipe be used for other vegetables too? Aloha.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Yes, I think the basic pickling recipe should be able to be used for a number of different vegetables, though mostly only softer more porous vegetables work for quick pickles. I would imagine it would work for cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, melon, dried fruits, green tomatoes… Make sure you slice the vegetables thin!

  21. Emily Olson says:

    I’ve been craving fish tacos lately and this looks just as good if not better! I love your blog and cannot wait to try this yummy Indian spiced fish sandwich recipe.

  22. gomensgirl says:

    I so love the colors and how the way you captured on spices. They look so captivating! I’m even curious how Indian spiced fish sandwiches taste like. :)

  23. […] Shananana, yeah.  Shananana!  For some reason I feel like singing everything right now.  So, just pretend that this has a melody.  I've always felt life would be more fun if it were a musical.  Don't you? Actually, last week Joel and I went out for ice cream and our scooper (is that what you call the people who scoop your ice cream?) sang "what can I get for you?"  So, we sang our orders back, and he was so excited (apparently no one else was res … Read More […]

  24. […] Shananana, yeah.  Shananana!  For some reason I feel like singing everything right now.  So, just pretend that this has a melody.  I've always felt life would be more fun if it were a musical.  Don't you? Actually, last week Joel and I went out for ice cream and our scooper (is that what you call the people who scoop your ice cream?) sang "what can I get for you?"  So, we sang our orders back, and he was so excited (apparently no one else was res … Read More […]

  25. Looks yummy! Love the simple picture of the onion and lime!

  26. herschelian says:

    What a delicious sounding sandwich – I now live in Beijing and sometimes crave some food that is non-Chinese, this is just the ticket….and I too am a coriander (cilantro) addict, it’s called xiangcai here and I buy it in big bunches at the local market. I loved the fact you got your ice-creams for free by singing – if I tried to sing they would probably refuse to serve me!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh, I bet they would serve you! I don’t think our singing voices were sounding that good either (they sound lots better in the shower though!). :)

  27. oh yeah, love those spices and their colours :)

  28. Just let you know I shared this on Facebooks. Sounds Yummie and I plan to try.

  29. bentiu says:

    i want some of that…hehe =)

  30. myhepcdiary says:

    Oh my gosh, can’t wait to try these. And not too many things have been looking appetizing to me lately, so THANK YOU!!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh, I’m very pleased to have stimulated your appetite a bit. It’s so frustrating when things just aren’t looking appealing!

  31. mkeeffer says:

    Very nice! Just let me know the next time you’re making them and I’ll be right over….

  32. I love the way you write about the food! It’s so full of joy! Love the photos too! Thanks for the inspiration.

  33. qcctest1 says:


  34. […] Indian spiced fish sandwiches (via Five And Spice) Shananana, yeah.  Shananana!  For some reason I feel like singing everything right now.  So, just pretend that this has a melody.  I've always felt life would be more fun if it were a musical.  Don't you? Actually, last week Joel and I went out for ice cream and our scooper (is that what you call the people who scoop your ice cream?) sang "what can I get for you?"  So, we sang our orders back, and he was so excited (apparently no one else was res … Read More […]

  35. CONIEFOX says:

    Yummy Yummy!!! it sounds great! i am gonna to try it

  36. leadinglight says:

    That’s worthy of an Indian cafe dish. I’ve noticed many Indian restaurants, at least in Australia, don’t serve many fish dishes.

  37. Sounds delicious. I was in Kolkata recently and spiced fish dishes were everywhere – a real revelation

  38. I loved these ideas…I m a vegetarian and like sandwiches a lot.

  39. incessantme says:

    Yum Yum !!! Being an Indian I can already feel those spices and fish tickling my tastebuds !!!

  40. Charis says:

    That looks so fresh and delish!

  41. fey's diary says:

    I avoided to take a view on the onion because I might get some tears on my eyes. haha just kidding .

  42. Hannah says:

    This looks simply amazing – I love getting new ideas for easy-to-make-and-yet-great food from all over the world :)

  43. lily. says:

    Wow, this looks great! Great pictures. <3 Thanks for posting~

  44. Emily Brungo says:

    Your photographs are absolutely stunning. How do you do that? My food photos are decidedly not stunning (although I guess that adds to their charm). What’s your secret?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you! It’s taken me a lot of practice (and frustration, even tears) to get my photography to where it is today. So, my major tip is practice as much as you can, study food photos you like and try to take cues from them, and read up as much as possible about it. There are some nice books with basics (Helene of Tartelette just wrote one called Plate to Pixel that looks lovely). Another important thing is to ues natural light if possible, or get a light with a full spectrum bulb and a diffuser.

  45. bsbeital says:

    i love fish and spices thing that is a good food for all people who love to live in healthy life.

  46. gmom says:

    La La La La You had me going there until you mentioned making your own flatbread but using FROZEN FISH.
    There’s is also no way you can sub cilantro for lettuce.
    Completely different animals. Toasted coconut too?
    I think the yoga did make you happy but be sure to wear a hat and drink a lot of water.
    Very nicely written though!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      A yes. Well, the fish was fish that I had frozen after buying it fresh. We bought extra because it was a special, and fairly sustainably caught. And, cilantro and lettuce are indeed very different animals, but I enjoyed my huge portion of cilantro a great deal! Good point about staying hydrated while doing yoga. That’s very important!

  47. ???????????? says:

    Thanks for sharing. Is very good and very interesting.

  48. beautchica says:

    Tried it. So yummy! Thank you. :)

  49. RO says:

    This looks amazing! I just baked some naan and this would be the perfect compliment to its flavor! I’m definitely excited to try this now.

  50. gaycarboys says:

    I’ll just bet my ingredients wouldn’t look this good if I took photos of them!

  51. emfilmgeek says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, and the photos make that food look amazing! I just picked up fish in my diet and this looks fantastic! I took a look at your other posts and you’re definitely gifted! Discover The Gift talks about embracing your gift and you seem to have quite the hand at cooking :].. Ever heard of it? I’m still learning to cook new and exciting dishes

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you for your kind comment! I haven’t heard of Discover The Gift, but it sounds interesting. Cooking is something I just love, so it’s awesome to have this platform to share that with people.

  52. […] Indian Spiced Fish sandwich (adapted from Five and Spice) […]

  53. […] Indian spiced fish sandwiches ( […]

  54. Fish tacos are a favorite of mine and I love this twist! Thanks for the great idea.

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