Amateur cooks have mocked celebrity chef Nigella Lawson for making a dish originating from India and Bangladesh with a key ingredient many people may not immediately associate with hot spices – fish fingers.
The TV cooking queen’s meal-for-two requires a box of 12 frozen fish fingers, which are more commonly used in children’s meals accompanied by chips and baked beans.
After the recipe for the bhorta, which appears in the 63-year-old chef’s Cook, Eat, Repeat cookbook from 2020, was reposted on social media, fans were left divided by the concoction.
While many said they thought it looked quite tasty, they thought they would have a difficult time getting their children on board with an inventive use for fish fingers.
However, others were not so convinced and took issue with the dish and its garnish, which was pickled red onions.
Nigella’s fish finger bhorta (pictured) is her twist on the traditional side dish originating from India and Bangladesh which includes fish fingers as its main ingredient
A bhorta (also written as bharta) is a lightly fried mixture of mashed vegetables that is popular in Bangladesh and India.
Typically, the side dish will feature things like vegetables or starchy ingredients as the main ingredients, and also will include white fish and shellfish.
However, Nigella’s take on the dish twists the main element somewhat so that it does include fish, but breaks from tradition with a breaded crust.
One Nigella fan, Chris Stetz, said: ‘Well, well well Nigella. Looks interesting but not my cup of tea I’m afraid. Anyway let’s see what tomorrow brings.’
The dish was part of the TV chef’s Cook, Eat, Repeat series which first came out in 2020 (Nigella pictured with the bhorta)
Fans were left divided over Nigella’s concoction with some saying they liked the idea but could not get on board with the use of fish fingers
Another Facebook user, Charles Martinez, seemed to think the recipe looked interesting but added: ‘Unable to bring myself to buy fish fingers. Sad g** that I am.’
A mother, named Jules, said she enjoyed the dish when she made it, but her children were unconvinced.
She said: ‘I made this for the first time last week. I loved, kids were totally freaked out.’
One Facebook user, Myra Davies, said she didn’t like the look of the dish’s red onion garnish, claiming it was off-putting.
‘Looks like a bunch of earth worms crawling all over it,’ she said.
However, a fan of Nigella added the dish was one of their favourite things to make.
Nigella – renowned for her unusual food combos – said: ‘If you’d asked me any time up until recently whether I’d ever thought I’d bring out a book with a fish finger recipe it.
‘I’d have been fairly certain the answer would be no.
‘Thank goodness we live and learn. Not that I have anything against fish fingers.
‘A fish finger sandwich is right up there on my list of most-savoured comfort foods.
‘But I hadn’t thought they were the stuff of recipes.
‘Onions are cooked until soft, with garlic, ginger and chillies, dolloped with mustard, and with crisp edged fish fingers mashed into the pan at the end, with coriander, spinach and lime.
‘It is my absolute go-to when the need for vibrant sustenance and delicious comfort hits.’
The beloved chef who often has TV shows on BBC2 has previously revealed the breaded fish sticks are one of her favourite ingredients, with the humble fish finger sandwich being her go-to comfort food.
Responding to a Twitter trend where people revealed their favourite comforting meals, the domestic goddess listed her top seven plates that bring her joy.
In seventh place was the fish finger sandwich, behind bread and butter and steamed syrup sponge, which took the top spot.