John Jory. Chef Bruce Rennie

John Dory served with Chana Dal, Coriander & Mint

by Chef Bruce Rennie of The Shore Restaurant, Penzance, Cornwall

Ingredients for ten servings:

Chana Dal

  • 150G Yellow Dried Split Peas, Rinsed Until The Water Runs Clear
  • 3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Small Onion, Peeled & Chopped
  • 1 Green Chilli, Finely Sliced
  • 2cm Ginger, Peeled & Finely Diced
  • 3⁄4 Tsp. Ground Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp. Garam Masala
  • 11⁄2 Tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. Nigella Seeds
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Finely Chopped
  • 4 Tomatoes, Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, To Taste

Coriander & Mint

  • 70G Coriander
  • 70G Mint Leaves
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 100G Onion, Peeled & Diced – 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 35Ml Lime Juice
  • 1 Green Chilli, Chopped

John Dory

  • Vegetable Oil, For Frying
  • 6 John Dory Fillets
  • Salt, To Taste


Put the split peas into a pan and cover with water; stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a ladle and turn down to a simmer. Cook the peas, stirring regularly, for 35-40 minutes or until just tender – adding more water if necessary. When the lentils are tender, remove the pan from the heat and whisk to break the lentils down. Set aside until required.

Warm the vegetable oil for the dal in a pan on a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds. Add the onion, chillies and ginger and fry for four to five minutes until lightly coloured. Add the ground spices and nigella seeds to the pan and cook for a further minute; mix well and season with salt to taste. Blend the garlic and tomatoes in a food processor and add this to the pan; mix well and season with salt to taste again.

Cook the mix over a medium heat until the oil has started to show on top of the sauce. Add the cooked lentils to the sauce; stir and mix well. Add a little water as needed to thin the dal to desired consistency. Bring the mixture to the boil and season to taste.

Put all of the ingredients for the coriander and mint chutney into a food processor and blend to a fine paste. Store in the refrigerator until needed.

To serve, heat a frying pan with a little vegetable oil until hot but not smoking. Season the fillets with salt and fry until one side is lightly coloured and the fish is cooked halfway through. Turn the fish over and cook on the other side until just cooked, but still moist. Meanwhile, heat the dal gently and check the seasoning. Spoon a little on to each plate. Top the dal with the fish fillets and serve a little of the coriander and mint chutney on the side. Serve immediately.

The Shore Restaurant, Penzance, Cornwall

This recipe is featured in our book Signature Chefs South West & Channel Islands. Click here for more information