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How to spice up your barbie with tandoori John Dory

To continue with the theme of previous weeks, Im going to tell you what I cooked at the weekend. Its usually foraged from someones garden or caught on a boat with my daughter, but last weekends inspiration came from my neighbour, Paddy.

He was gifted some John Dory by a mutual fisherman friend of ours and I saw it as a great opportunity to crack out my recently-acquired Ox Grill. Its a fantastic piece of British-made kit thats built to last out of ship steel, with a classic retro look.

Read more: Mackerel's backerel so here's how to make the most out of your catch

Ive always loved the idea of tandoori John Dory, partly because it rhymes, but also because I love cooking Indian food. The shape and texture of John Dory lends itself to being marinaded and cooked quickly on the intense heat of a tandoor or wood-fired pizza oven or even a barbecue.

I travelled to Ridley Road Market to find some long, flat Turkish kebab skewers, popped the John Dory on so they would sit nicely on the edges of the Ox Grill and turned them over until cooked through. Heres the recipe so you can throw some fish on the barbie this weekend. Itll be a scorcher.

Tandoori John Dory (serves 4)


1 large John Dory weighing about 1kg, or two smaller ones


  • 3tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2tsp garam masala
  • ½tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1tbsp finely grated root ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated or crushed


  • Blend all of the ingredients for the marinade and season to taste
  • Score the John Dory 4 or 5 times on both sides, lay in a non-reactive tray, mix well with the marinade, cover and store in the fridge overnight
  • Pre-heat the wood fired oven or tandoor or barbecue
  • Skewer the John Dory and cook over the coals without the grill rack or in the wood fired oven resting the ends of the skewers on bricks or similar.
  • The John Dory will only take 6-7 minutes in a wood fired oven and maybe 5 minutes each side over the barbecue
  • Serve whole with a cucumber, coriander and mint salad, the perfect clean accompaniment to this dish

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