How to Make Josh Niland’s Fried Bass Groper Burger

A fish burger people will remember.

Josh Niland recipe
Photo: Rob Palmer

Fried fish burgers are served the world over, but my marinated fish collars offer something a little different and add a huge burst of flavour. You could add a multitude of other garnishes but I find too many ingredients make for a chaotic burger, and take away from the quality of the fish. The hot sauce takes two weeks to ferment but it is definitely worth the wait, resulting in a fiery, fragrant concoction that you will be slinging across all manner of other dishes. Do try to get collars for this recipe as the darker muscle really does improve the texture and flavour here. Ask your fishmonger to cut the bones out of the wing to save you one extra task.

MORE: Sensing Something Fishy About These Comfort Foods? Josh Niland is Behind Them


400 g (14 oz) boneless bass groper collars, skin on
100 g (3½ oz/2/3 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
100 g (3½ oz) potato starch
Canola oil, for deep-frying
Sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons quality mayonnaise
Juice of ½ lime

Tamarind hot sauce

250 g (9 oz) peeled papaya
250 g (9 oz) scotch bonnet chillies
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 French shallot, peeled
6 coriander (cilantro) roots, washed and scraped clean
1½ tablespoons fine salt
1 tablespoon light palm sugar (jaggery)
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) tamarind puree (or tamarind water), or to taste


1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vodka

To serve

4 potato rolls or soft burger buns, halved and lightly toasted
Iceberg lettuce leaves
Sliced pickles

To make the tamarind hot sauce, place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz to a fine puree. Pour the mixture into a sterile mason (kilner) jar, cover the opening with a square of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with a rubber band or kitchen twine. Store out of direct sunlight and leave the ingredients to ferment with the lid off for a minimum of 2 weeks. If needed, add extra tamarind for acidity and to round out the flavour profile.

For the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

Using a sharp knife, score the skinless side of the bass groper collars in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to cut too deeply into the flesh (this will speed up the cooking process and encourage even transfer of heat). Add to the marinade and toss to coat, then cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably closer to 24 hours for best results.

Drain off any excess liquid from the collars and set aside on a plate, reserving the marinade.

Mix together the flour and potato starch in a shallow bowl.

Dredge the marinated collars in the flour mix and leave to stand on a wire rack for at least 1 hour, then dip them into the reserved marinade and then back into the flour mix once again. Leave to stand for a further 1 hour. A more significant crust can be developed here if you can leave the collars to stand overnight after the first coating, but both outcomes are excellent.

When you are ready to cook, pour canola oil into a heavy-based saucepan to a depth of 4 cm (1½ in) and heat to 180 °C (350°F). Deep-fry the collars for 5–6 minutes until cooked through and golden brown, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon to stop them sticking together or catching on the base of the pan.

Remove the collars and drain on a wire rack. Season with salt flakes and dress the outside crust with a little tamarind hot sauce.

Add a few splashes of the hot sauce to the mayonnaise. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste with salt.

To serve, spoon the mayo onto the base of four lightly toasted rolls or buns. Place the crispy fried collars on top and finish with iceberg lettuce, your favourite pickles and the top half of the buns.

Recipe extracted from Take One Fish by Josh Niland (Hardie Grant Book, RRP $55)

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Craving Something Sweet? Whip Up These Nutella Thumbrint Cookies In No Time

From baking queen, Katherine Sabbath.

nutella cookies recipe

We’ve all been there. Staring at an open pantry, on the hunt for something sweet, only to find an empty packet of chocolate biscuits someone polished off without your knowledge. It’s less than ideal, so we’ve decided to share a recipe you can whip up in 20 minutes for the next time that sweet tooth pops up.

Primary school teacher turned baking queen, Katherine Sabbath has authored three bestselling cookbooks and appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia. She is known for her cutting-edge cake designs and creative flair in the kitchen, and we were lucky enough to sneak a super simple, tasty recipe for her Nutella Thumbprint Cookies.

“I’m excited to be partnering with Nutella and Kenwood to create a range of simple and tasty winter warmer recipes showcasing the delicious versatility of Australia’s favourite chocolate hazelnut spread. These recipes have been prepared using my go-to appliance, the Kenwood Chef Baker Mixer, which makes baking a breeze thanks to its quality, durability, and performance,” said Sabbath.

In celebration of this this partnership, Nutella is offering shoppers a chance to win 1 of 500 limited-edition Kenwood Titanium Chef Baker XL White Mixer with a Nutella branded PopTop valued at $999. All you have to do is purchase a specially marked jar of Nutella from May 8 to July 3, and follow the prompts on the jar for a chance to win.

Now that you’ve secured your mixer, it’s time to start baking.

Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

– 200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
– 1/2 cup superfine caster sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
– 1 egg, chilled
– 350g plain all purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 200g Nutella
– 80g roasted hazelnuts, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 160oC fan-forced. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar for five minutes or until light and fluffy.
3. Add the vanilla and egg, beat until well combined. Add the flour and salt, beat until just combined.
4. Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized mounds and place onto the trays about 2cm apart. Use your thump or end of the spoon to make a dent in the centre of each cookie.
5. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, or until just golden. Leave the cookies on the trays and while still warm, pipe or dollop Nutella into each dent and sprinkle crushed hazelnuts on top.

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