Tender catfish fillets marinate briefly in garlic and pepper before being breaded and fried for these extra-crispy fried catfish sandwiches from Pawan Mahendro, whose family runs Badmaash, a modern Indian concept with two locations in Los Angeles. Don't skip Mahendro's creamy coleslaw: In addition to the usual cast of green cabbage, red onion, and matchstick carrots, he punches it up with cilantro, bread-and-butter pickles, and a roasted cumin, mayo, and vinegar dressing. Like most slaws, this one gets better after a day in the refrigerator; stir in the cilantro just before serving to keep it fresh. 

February 2022


Credit: Jennifer Chong

Recipe Summary

1 hr 10 mins


Marinated Catfish
Additional Ingredients


<strong>Make the marinated catfish</strong>:
  • Whisk together egg, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large, shallow bowl until combined. Add catfish fillets, and gently toss to coat in egg mixture. Let marinate at room temperature 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the coleslaw:
  • Place cabbage in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, and drizzle with vinegar; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Lightly squeeze cabbage mixture to remove any liquid; pour off liquid. Add mayonnaise, onion, cilantro, pickles, carrots, cumin, salt, and pepper; stir to coat. Season with additional salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate coleslaw until ready to use.

Make the breading:
  • Pour oil into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet to a depth of1 inch; heat oil over medium to 375°F. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Sift flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and1/4 teaspoon pepper into a wide, shallow bowl. Re-sift flour mixture into a separate bowl; re-sift mixture again into original bowl. Set aside. Whisk eggs in a separate wide, shallow bowl until well blended; whisk in milk, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Stir together panko and remaining 11/4 teaspoons salt in a separate wide, shallow bowl. Working in batches, remove 2 catfish fillets from marinade mixture, letting excess drip off, and dredge in seasoned flour; shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture; let excess drip off. Dredge in seasoned panko, pressing to adhere. Carefully place dredged fillets in hot oil. Fry until panko is deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, carefully flipping fillets halfway through cook time and adjusting heat between batches as needed to maintain oil temperature of 375°F. Transfer cooked fillets to prepared rack. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Assemble the sandwiches:
  • Spread 1 tablespoon chopped pickles on each bun bottom; top with 1 fried catfish fillet and about 1/2 cup coleslaw. Cover with bun tops.

Make Ahead

Slaw can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Bright, unoaked Oregon white: A to Z Wineworks Chardonnay