Fish Charcoal by Gaggan Anand

Seyine Park

No introduction is necessary for chef Gaggan Anand. Since its debut in 2010, his restaurant Gaggan has quickly climbed up in ratings on an international scale. With roots stemming from the kitchens of elBulli, he offers Indian cuisine unlike any you’ve ever tried or even imagined before, in Bangkok, Thailand. Step inside the mind of Gaggan just for a moment with his recipe for Fish Charcoal. 

Today, Gaggan ranks No.1 of Asia’s 50 Best, S. Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Asia and Best Restaurant in Thailand, and No.10 of the World’s 50 Best – just to give you an idea of who we’re dealing with.

The chef’s mantra? “Food is the hero.” Staged inside of an old, simple, and white colonial-style home in the heart of Bangkok, chef Gaggan simply let’s the food do all the talking, as we will now:

Charcoal Batter

200g cold water
132g flour
120g Trisol from Texturas
4g fresh yeast
20g charcoal powder
Dissolve the yeast in the cold water.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients with a whisk until it is fully incorporated.
Then mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
Mix it thoroughly and let it ferment at 30ºC (86ºF).
Once it is fermented, let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour before using.

Fish Mixture

40g Panch Phoran Masala or Bengali five-spice powder
**Panch Phoran Masala consists of equal amounts of cumin seeds, black cumin seeds, fennel seeds, brown mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds
300g filet of seabass
100g fried potatoes
70g fried red onions
40g fresh ginger (grated)
14g green chillies (chopped)
20g coriander leaves (chopped)
Before making the mixture, make sure the potatoes, and onions are fried.
Sous vide the filet of seabass with salt at 60ºC (140ºF) for 15 minutes and then straight into an ice bath.
Mash the fried potatoes by hand to get a rough texture and combine with the grated ginger, fried onions, and green chillies.
Once the fish is chilled, break apart the filets and mix thoroughly with the potato mixture and season to taste.
Shape the fix mixture into desired shapes, such as charcoal.

Ashes of Charcoal

200g red onions (fried)
310g Maltodextrin
30g charcoal powder
16g Panch Phoran Masala or Bengali five-spice powder
Blend the fried onions into a paste (if the onions are fried too dry, you can add extra oil to make a paste).
Add Maltodextrin slowly to achieve a powder texture.
Add charcoal powder to attain color and flavor.
Lastly, add seasoning with salt and Masala


To Plate

Heat up a deep fryer at 180ºC (356ºF). Use a fork to dip the shaped fish into the charcoal batter and fry them for 1 minute, until it reaches the center warm. Take out and drain the oil on a paper towel. Place the crispy fish on a plate and sprinkle ashes of charcoal on the fish around it. Use a live charcoal to smoke the dish and present to your diners.


Fish Charcoal by chef Gaggan Anand. © Gaggan