Tag Archives: seafood recipes

Fiji style Crab Curry

Some days the words just don’t come….

And it’s usually when my mind is overwhelmed and I am so busy trying to achieve a zillion things in a short period. Pretty much how I feel currently with the holiday season coming up soon.

I hardly get overwhelmed or stressed over personal and emotional happenings; pretty sorted that way. But when it gets to physical things like working, events to attend, parties to plan etc… that’s when I feel so beat up and tired. And that’s exactly the current state of affairs. There are so many recipes to test, shoot and write, so many events to attend (in spite of saying yes only to a quarter of the invites), Christmas parties to plan, a trip to India early next year for my brother’s wedding which means a whole lot of wedding shopping to do…the list goes on.

Since I have nothing more to say apart from how crazy things are at the moment, I will just get on with today’s recipe – a Fiji style Crab Curry.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

With Fiji being so close to Australia in terms of geography, there are so many people I know who are from the island. But when it comes to food, I am totally clueless. I do know that Fiji cuisine is heavily influenced by the various migrants and settlers so it’s totally normal to see an Indian curry sitting beside a native dish. And seafood is an integral part of the diet due to the coastal topography.

I found the recipe for this Fiji style crab curry in my recipe journal (basically a bunch of recipes torn from magazines and newspapers that I used to collect way before the food blogging journey). And so I have no clue whom to credit the recipe to. In fact I am not even sure if it’s the most authentic or traditional way of making crab curry in Fiji.

The original recipe called for large mud crabs to make this curry, but I decided to use blue swimmer crabs as these are in season and also because I love the flavour of these..so sweet and delicious.

Blue swimmer crab - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Medium thick milk from freshly grated coconuts is the best to make this Fiji style Crab Curry, but canned coconut milk will work just fine too (tends to be slightly more sweet than fresh coconut milk). The crabs are broken down so that the flavour from all the spices and aromatics seeps into every nook and crevice of the claws and body which makes this curry a delicious delight. And of course, ensure there are plenty of napkins around, there’s no neat or demure way to eat crabs.

In traditional Fiji cooking, a hot masala powder would be used but sourcing that would be difficult for most people, hence I used garam masala  which is quite similar to the hot masala. If you live in Australia, there are plenty of stores that stock Fijian products so you can use the hot masala itself.

In spite of all the spices, this is a very mild and light curry that’s perfect for the warmer days. It’s creamy yet light and soupy, sweet yet with a hint of spice that’s best enjoyed over a bowl of steamed white rice.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Fiji style Crab Curry

So let’s get cooking a delicious pot of this Fiji style Crab Curry…

Ingredients:

  1. 3 blue swimmer crabs
  2. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  3. ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  4. 1 inch ginger; julienned

Recipe developed for Supreme Seafood, so find the full recipe on their website..

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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September Favourites

Feels like I wrote the August favourites just yesterday. Where did September go?

Guess days just flew by for us with the packing/shifting/unpacking process. I can’t believe that it’s October and almost the end of the year.

We are finally settled in the new home, few more boxes to get through as I write this but mostly settled and functional again. More importantly, I am back to my daily routine cooking. Eating out can get so boring after a few times that all of us were craving terribly for home cooked comfort food.

And due to all this, we hardly did anything this school holidays. No activities, play dates or fun stuff…Adi was at home helping us get things sorted. He was such a happy kid, hardly uttering the ‘boring’ word, quite understanding of everything that’s been happening.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had managed to test and shoot a few recipes beforehand to ease work during the shifting process. It takes me some time to start feeling inspired again and get back to work during changes like this.

One of the recipes that I had developed for Supreme Seafood was an Andhra style Prawn Curry.

Referred to as Royyala Koora in the native language, this dish can be made using prawns as well as shrimps. I chose to make it with tiger prawns; makes it an indulgent treat.

It was interesting that yoghurt is used as the souring agent instead of tomatoes which lends a tangy, creamy texture and flavour to the final dish. This prawn curry is best served as a thick gravy just coating the prawns and one of my favourite ways to have it is with steaming hot rice and some dal. But it works just as brilliantly as part of a larger thali or with Indian flatbreads.

Find the full recipe on their website; do try it out and let me know what you think…

Andhra style Prawns Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Now let’s get on to my top picks and favourites for the month of September;

Drawing a 3D fried egg. Sheer Magic!

We have a lovely deck space in our new home. I can totally see myself sipping a couple of these mojitos with friends.

Just the kind of snack I enjoy.

A 20 minute ramen recipe is always welcome.

So rustic and simple, this egg curry has become a hot favourite in our home.

I have never made polenta before. Guess it’s time to give it a try…

This slow roast spiced lamb shoulder is definitely going to be a part of my Christmas menu.

Kids don’t damage women’s careers, men do. 100% true and for all the men to think about….

Spring racing, summer parties, Christmas dinners….the list is endless and I am broke. Hiring might be the solution.

Pandora ‘Grains of Life’….truly my style.

Need a spring makeover for my bedroom, starting with this floral linen set.

 

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice

Well, this was originally meant to be the first post of 2016 but I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and write it. But finally it’s here – my special Roasted Golden Trout with Arabian Rice.

It is special because of a wonderful experience we had late 2015. Many of you would have seen this picture of me with a huge golden trout on my fishing line. Early December, we went out on a fishing picnic to the Australian Rainbow Trout Farm, located in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges.

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Diverting off topic here…..one of my goals for 2016 is to have more enriching experiences. I am not a ‘New Year resolutions’ like of person but I do constantly make small but achievable goals and this happens through the year and not just at the start. I want to consciously incorporate small experiences like this fishing one with family and friends. I want to travel more but more locally than internationally. The beauty of this is the amount of meaningful time you spend with family and loved ones because that is the only constant in this ever changing world.

Getting back to the Australian Rainbow Trout Farm, it is a place you must visit if you live in Victoria. There are many similar farms across the state where a species or two are farmed in a sustainable manner. The farm has a small picnic area with barbeques where you can prepare your fish after you have caught it. Rainbow trout, golden trout and salmon were the ones farmed here and we caught all three. The good part is that, since it is a farm, you will definitely catch a fish which is great to avoid disappointment especially for novices like me.

While everyone else was busy fishing for rainbow trout and salmon, I wanted to bring home a golden trout because I have never tasted or cooked with it before. And I did catch a really huge one as you can see in the picture; I almost fell into the water trying to keep it on the line. A really huge and slippery fellow!

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I had been experimenting with a new marinade and so took it along for our picnic lunch. The whole rainbow trouts we caught were marinated using this and barbequed; turned out amazing so I decided to use the same for this golden trout.

What makes this marinade slightly different to most traditional Indian ones is the addition of tomatoes to the spices and aromatics. A richer and deeper flavour profile is the result which works brilliantly with any kind of seafood. I am sure it would work great with chicken, tofu, Indian cottage cheese, mushrooms and potatoes too.

It is also a freezer-friendly marinade, so make a large batch and freeze in small portions for quick weekday dinners.

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I served this roasted spicy golden trout on a bed of Arabian rice resplendent with saffron and nuts; add a minty yoghurt raita and you have a delicious meal.

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Ingredients:

  1. 5 kg golden trout
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 1 lime, sliced
  5. 4 tbsp spicy marinade
  6. 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnish

Spicy marinade:

(Makes approximately 1 cup marinade)

  1. 6 large garlic cloves
  2. 2 inch ginger
  3. 1 large red chilli
  4. 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  5. 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  6. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  7. ½ tsp cumin powder
  8. ½ tsp fennel powder
  9. ½ tsp black peppercorns
  10. ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. 2 sprigs coriander leaves
  12. 3 mint leaves
  13. 1 medium ripe tomato; chopped
  14. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method:

To prepare the spicy marinade:

  • Blend all the ingredients into a smooth paste. (Water is not necessary if the tomatoes are ripe enough, but add a few drops if you need to).

To prepare the fish:

  • Clean the insides of the fish and also de-scale. (I got this done at the Trout farm itself; not an easy feat cleaning this big fella in an apartment kitchen).
  • Score the fish on both sides; season with salt and rub with lemon juice.
  • Liberally apply the spicy marinade on both sides and also the insides of the fish. Allow to sit for at least 4-6 hours, overnight is preferable.
  • Bring to room temperature before roasting in the oven.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan forced); line an oven proof tray with baking paper. Line the fish with lime slices and place in the baking tray.
  • Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or till done.
  • Serve on top of the rice and with a side of pickled onions, lemon wedges and garnished with fresh coriander leaves.

Note – The amount of marinade to be used and cooking times will vary according to the type and weight of the fish used.

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Fish Ambotik

Do you believe in the ‘13th unlucky day’ concept?

I do, at some genetic level……though I haven’t become a freak yet!

I grew up with a mom who totally freaks over the number 13. She simply wouldn’t let us do so many things on that day, especially if involves travel, hosting an event, or even lodging an application…..If there was a way, she would simply bring life to a standstill and keep her family close by on the 13th.

My attitude, initially, was ridicule. It was plain crazy to attribute a day or number to be bad. And though I have read up a lot trying to figure out the scientific relevance of all this, the only answer I could come up with is that it has a lot to do with what you really believe in. As life went, the ridicule turned to frustration as mom wouldn’t let me do many things on the 13th, and it is not always possible in a practical, busy world. But I began to tolerate it much more because I began to understand the reasons behind her fears. Every undesirable or bad experience of her life has always been on the 13th and that fear has formed over many many years of such experiences.

And now, though I haven’t become like my mom yet, 13th has become a conscious date in my mind. Though I don’t prevent or impose on my family with my beliefs, there is an extra prayer in the mornings before everyone heads out, small prayers through the day worrying about the safety of my family till they are back in the nest and yes, sometimes consciously putting away doing things simply because I don’t feel great on that day.

Yesterday was one such 13th…..nothing has happened that stopped my life in any manner. But a couple of unpleasant and undesirable experiences peppered through the day that I just couldn’t wait for the day to come to a close. I went to bed with a heavy heart praying that I don’t want to believe that a date or number can have a hold on me.

Today’s dawn couldn’t have felt much better…a new day to start afresh with a better frame of mind. And all I wanted to do was fall back into routine and get cooking something to fire up my taste buds.

And that something happened to be this deliciously spicy and warm fish curry.

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Fish Ambotik curry is a famous sour and spicy seafood preparation commonly found in Goa and along the Konkan belt of Maharashtra (a state along the south west coast of India).

The unique sour flavour of the dish comes from the tamarind and fenugreek seeds while the heat is added from the kashmiri chillies and garlic. Ambotik curry can be prepared using a wide variety of fish but I have used Indian mackerel today.

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A bowl of steamed rice with this simple, no fuss, deliciously spicy fish curry can make the world feel a much better place……

Ingredients:

1. 1 kg Indian mackerel; gutted and cleaned
2. 1 ½ red onion; 1 finely chopped and ½ for making spice paste
3. 6 dry kashmiri chillies

Find the full recipe here….

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And if you love fish heads just as much as I do, here is special click for you;

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Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood

Grilled Sardines with Recheado/Reshad Paste

Yes, it’s coming! The much dreaded ‘writer’s block’ which rears its ugly head occasionally is slowly creeping in.

I can identify it these days. Starts with the physical self, a slow drain of energy which eventually creeps into my mind and pfffff…..I go blank.

Unlike earlier, I don’t fight this phase anymore; neither do I get upset or frustrated. I understand that it is my inner self asking me to slow down, take it easy and give it the rest it deserves. And this phase is an experience which bounces me back stronger and surer of who I am and the work I want to do.

So if you find me not my usual self or see a bit of irregularity here, I am just waiting for my mojo to be back.

And I also know that there’s been a lot of seafood happening here recently (and its going to continue for a bit!). Like I mentioned earlier, the project with the Supreme seafood company is a massive one. Initially I thought I will not include those posts here but then those recipes are some of the best that I cook or like to eat. So I thought it wouldn’t be fair if it’s not part of my space. But I do promise that I will try and include a bit more variety to avoid a fishy monotony.

Today’s dish uses sardines, the large oily sardines. These are larger than the regular sardines; contain more oil content which makes it much healthier as these contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The only catch is that these types of oily fish also contain a higher level of mercury or dioxin. So while extremely nutritious, these have to be taken in moderation.

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I have always enjoyed the flavour of oily sardines especially when grilled. The higher oil content keeps the fish moist and with a bit of spice rub on it, these sardines are a delicious feast.

This time, I used the famous Goan spice marinade known as the Recheado paste or Reshad paste or sometimes, also as the Goan red masala. Don’t get thrown off by the word ‘red’; it has less heat and more colour due to the use of dry red chillies.

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The Recheado or Reshad paste is an excellent marinade for seafood, especially fish that are fleshy in nature. The spices are blended with tamarind and vinegar with a hint of sugar to balance out the flavours. If you do not have a grill, then pan fry the fish. But the best option would be a coal fired barbecue to grill this fish; add a couple of beers and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

1. 6 oily sardines; gutted and cleaned
2. Salt, to season
3. 2 cloves
4. ½ tsp cumin/jeera seeds
5. ½ tsp black peppercorns
6. ½ inch cinnamon bark
7. 3-4 long dry red chillies (this gives medium heat, so adjust quantity to suit preferences)
8. ½ inch ginger
9. 3 medium garlic cloves
10. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
11. Sugar, a pinch
12. 1 tsp tamarind paste
13. ½ tsp white vinegar
14. Fresh garden salad, to serve
15. lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

• Clean and wash the sardines; pat dry. Score the fish to allow deeper penetration of the marinade.

• Soak the dry chillies in warm water for 15 minutes and then use for blending.

• Blend cloves, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon, dry red chilli, ginger, garlic, turmeric, sugar, salt, tamarind and vinegar into a paste.

• Rub the sardines with this paste and keep aside for 2 hours. Overnight marination is a great idea if you have the time.

• Grill on a pan till done or shallow fry in oil.

• Serve hot with lemon wedges and a side of fresh garden salad.

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Meen Peera (Sardines with Grated coconut, green chillies and black kokum)

While speaking to my son the other day, the topic of traditions came up for discussion. He wanted to know why I did something in a particular way and I replied, that’s the tradition.

This got me thinking about the importance of tradition in our lives…the good and bad!

I am not a stickler for tradition. Having spent my childhood away from India, I have seen and experienced the pros and cons of this. My parents instilled a balanced sense of Indianism in me and my siblings; enough to be proud of our roots yet flexible enough to adapt to the society we lived in.

I didn’t grow up thinking India is a poor nation or filled with slums and dirt. I grew up on the stories of patriotic heroism, the power of democracy, the diversity, the colours, the beauty and food!

They also tried to instill a balanced approach to traditions in our lives. There would always be things that would be done, said or practised according to our culture and traditions yet there would also be room for plenty of flexibility. I know, for certain, that this was and is a constant struggle for them especially when they both had different views to life.

This upbringing has definitely helped me become a better parent. Bringing up my son today on foreign shores, I am constantly looking at ways to instill my traditions and culture in him yet provide him enough space and flexibility for growth in this beautiful country. I am constantly trying to teach him how to pick out the best of both worlds to help him evolve into a better human being.

And to all my friends who either consider it beneath themselves to be called Indians (the minute they land on foreign shores) or those who choke their children with their superstitious ideas of culture and traditions, I just have one thing to say as far as culture and traditions go – give your children roots so that they can build their wings!

And staying on the topic of tradition, Meen Peera (sardines with grated coconut, green chillies and black kokum) is a famous traditional dish of Kerala, especially in the Kottayam district and along the backwaters. Usually prepared with sardines (mathi) or anchovies (nethili), this fish preparation is a true example of using locally available ingredients like coconut and kudampuli (black kokum).

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Black kokum is a souring agent that is used almost exclusively in Kerala, and that too only in some parts of the state. Its sibling, the red kokum, is much more famous and is used extensively in the Goan cuisine as well as in parts of Maharashtra.

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This dish is very local in nature and is almost never cooked in other parts of Kerala. I really wonder why…..

For me, I grew up on it and was a staple in my household; a culinary tradition passed on from my dad’s side.

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The Meen Peera (sardines with grated coconut, green chillies and black kokum) is a flavour explosion on your taste buds – succulent pieces of sardines coated with the tangy, tartness from black kokum, the fiery hit from green chillies cooled off by the refreshing crunch of grated coconut.

Ingredients:

1. 600gms sardines
2. 5-6 green chillies (adjust according to heat preference)
3. 4 garlic cloves
4. 1 inch ginger root…..

Find the full recipe here.

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Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

Kerala style Grilled LeatherJacket in Banana Leaf

It’s a cold, wet day in Melbourne today and it makes me super lazy. And it’s Thursday already, which makes me even lazier with the comforting thought of the approaching weekend.

But there’s a mountain of work that I need to wade through before the end of the day and writing this post is one of them.

In my last seafood post, I did mention this wonderful and delicious project that I have currently undertaken for a seafood company. I also did mention that you are going to see a lot of seafood dishes for the same reason. Now, I am not complaining because I love seafood and thoroughly enjoy cooking and devouring it.

The recipes are mostly going to be based on Indian cuisine but I am aiming at a good, mixed variety showcasing the vastness of Indian food and the sheer variety we have in our country. So do pour in suggestions if there’s anything in particular that you would like to see or if you have any family favourites that I must try out.

Meen Pollichathu or Fish smoked in banana leaf, is a traditional delicacy of Kerala and one of the most popular dishes in and around the Backwaters of Kerala.

Today, this famous dish gets a makeover; one that is more refreshing, low on spices and calories.

Kerala style Grilled Leatherjacket in Banana Leaf - a delicious classic gets reinvented - thespiceadventuress.com

And very untraditionally, I have used the leatherjacket to prepare today’s dish. This fish gets its name from the slight thicker and leathery skin; but with delicious flesh beneath. Being a robust fish, it can take on layers of flavour which makes it apt for this dish. Leatherjacket is best grilled or pan fried with spices and aromatics. To use in curries, remove skin and use the fillets.

You could use any kind of fish for this preparation, especially ones with firm, white flesh.

Kerala style Grilled Leatherjacket in Banana Leaf - a delicious classic gets reinvented - thespiceadventuress.com

The leatherjacket is first marinated with spices and shallow fried. It is then grilled inside a banana leaf with onions, tomatoes, freshly grated coconut and shallots. If you do not have an oven, then you can use a pan grill or an ordinary non-stick pan; just remember to smear a few drops of oil to avoid the leaves from sticking. And remember to grill it on low heat, to let the flavours seep through the fish.

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So here’s Kerala style grilled leatherjacket in banana leaf; and for the recipe, you need to visit this site.

Kerala style Grilled Leatherjacket in Banana Leaf - a delicious classic gets reinvented - thespiceadventuress.com

Enjoy!

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Sweet and Spicy Prawns

The past week started off hectic, but very exciting. A new project came into fruition (spoiler alert!); of course you would soon get to hear about it. And this meant a lot of planning, cooking and shooting amidst other writing assignments.

But I loved this hectic pace; I was in my best creative space which made me happy, truly happy. Everything was going great guns and then Thursday struck. I woke up feeling the laziest that I have felt in a long time. Mindlessly moving from room to room, not focusing on anything and feeling guilty every time I took a look at my planner; desperately trying to get back into my working element.

But a few hours into the day, I gave it up and let the laziness engulf me. I reveled in doing nothing, took the time out to do the small things that I usually do not have time for. Put on my favourite songs from yesteryears, spoke to my plants in the balcony, cuddled my son longer than usual and dreamt!

It made me happy; this slowing down actually helped me recharge and rejuvenate myself.

We talk a lot about slowing down; and in the recent times, there has been a lot of conscious effort to get people to slow down in their lives. Yet, this has become one of the most difficult things to do. The word ‘stress’ looms large above us….we talk and fret a lot about it but yet, we actually do not want to do anything about it.

Slowing down spells failure for many of us. We are scared that if we slow down, the world will rush by past and we would have lost our time. The competitiveness, the rivalry, the rat race…….

Just as I promised myself yesterday, I encourage all of you to pledge moments of silence in your day, your week, your month…..moments where you are truly in harmony with your inner self. Do not think, just be….in the moment!

And for me, these silent moments are intertwined always with thoughts of food. I crave savoury deep flavours, fingerlickin deliciousness that somehow comforts my soul like none other….

Sweet and spicy prawns is just that….fingerlickin deliciousness!

Sweet and Spicy Prawns - a quick and delicious stir fry in under 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

 

It’s easy and simple; just a handful of ingredients working its magic together inside a wok. And make sure you get the juiciest, plump prawns you can lay your hands on.

A dash of heat, a pinch of sweet, a handful of crunch all deliciously coating the succulent prawns!

Ingredients:

1. 1kg Australian raw prawns; peeled and deveined, leaving shells intact
2. 1 semi-ripe tomato, deseeded and sliced
3. 1 medium zucchini, sliced
4. 1 bell pepper, sliced
5. ½ lime; rind grated and juiced
6. 1 tsp five spice powder
7. 2 tbsp sriracha
8. 1 tbsp ginger, grated
9. 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10. 1 tbsp palm sugar, grated
11. 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
12. 2 tbsp fish sauce
13. ¼ cup pine nuts
14. Salt, to season
15. 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

1. In a bowl, mix the lime zest, five spice blend and 1 tbsp vegetable oil; marinate the prawns in this for at least 1 hour.
2. Combine the sweet chilli sauce, sriracha, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar in a bowl; taste and adjust to preferences.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok to just smoking, add the prawns and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
4. Heat the remaining oil; sauté ginger and garlic on high and add the prawns back. Add the zucchini and bell peppers.
5. Add the mixed sauces to the prawns and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Then add the tomatoes, taste and add salt if necessary.
7. Continue cooking till the sauce has coated the prawns well.
8. Add the pine nuts, mix and remove from heat.
9. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

Sweet and Spicy Prawns - a quick and delicious stir fry in under 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

Sweet and Spicy Prawns - a quick and delicious stir fry in under 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Pan Fried Basa with Fiery Tomato Sauce and Grilled Asparagus

I love to experiment with cuisines, drawing inspiration from different styles of cooking, recipes, cuisines etc… and finally bringing it together as my own. This is one such dish.

I first came across this fiery tomato sauce in a South African cookbook. Known as Babette’s fiery sauce, it was listed as one of the basic sauces used in the cuisine. I just knew that I had to try it out as the flavours were incredible. It is a basic tomato sauce, easy to prepare and can even be made in bulk and stored. And being a basic sauce, it can be combined with different ingredients creating whole new dishes each time.

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I decided to go the seafood route with this sauce when I found some fresh basa fillets at the local farmer’s market. And when you have fresh produce, there is not much that you need to do; just a dash of seasoning is enough to draw out the flavour. I used salt, pepper and cumin to season the fish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

The grilled asparagus was a last minute addition, again a find at the local farmer’s market. You can use any kind of grilled vegetable that you want based on what’s in season.

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Pan fried Basa with fiery tomato sauce and grilled asparagus – a perfect spring recipe; succulent pieces of basa spiced with cumin and pan fried, served on a bed of hot herby, garlicky tomato sauce and some grilled asparagus on the side for an extra bit of crunch and flavour.

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Ingredients:

For the fish:

1. 2 basa fillets, cut into 6 portions, wash and pat dry (use any other white fish if you cannot get basa)
2. Salt, to season
3. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
4. ½ tsp roasted cumin powder
5. Vegetable/olive oil – to pan fry the fish

Babette’s fiery sauce:

6. 3 ripe red tomatoes, diced
7. 2 cloves garlic
8. 2 sprigs parsley
9. 1 scotch bonnet chili
10. 6 tbsp sunflower oil
11. Salt, to season
12. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
13. Lemon juice
14. A pinch of sugar

For the asparagus:

15. Asparagus stalks, trimmed and cleaned
16. Salt, to season
17. Freshly milled black pepper, to season

Method:

1. Marinate the fish pieces with salt, pepper, cumin and lemon juice; keep aside for 30 minutes.
2. To prepare the sauce, blend tomatoes, garlic, parsley, chilli and oil in a blender till smooth. Add water if too thick.
3. Heat a pan and add the sauce; reduce on low heat till a thicker consistency is obtained. Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. (Make sure to taste and adjust seasonings accordingly).
4. Pan fry the fish pieces, drain on a towel and keep aside.
5. Season the asparagus with salt and pepper; grill till done.
6. To assemble, spoon the sauce on a plate, place the fish on top and add the grilled asparagus.
7. Garnish with chopped parsley leaves.
8. Enjoy while warm!

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Karwari Fish Curry

This post was meant to go up 2 days ago. First I fell ill and then came the devastating news of the Sydney terrorist hostage siege.

It has been an emotionally overwhelming 2 days. Terror strikes and terrorist attacks are not new; coming from India, I have indirectly experienced much bigger blood baths than this one. But blame it on the age; I have become much more sensitive to these kinds of incidents than before. I know it is a good thing to be more sensitive because it makes me feel more alive. But I also feel emotionally drained when life becomes a roll of dice, every single day. I kissed my husband and son goodbye in the morning today, like every other day…..but till they reach back home in the evening, I don’t know.

You might read this as a defeatist attitude; but no….I look more positive to life than ever before. But I need to write, to give vent to the fears that lie dormant inside me or I know the darkness would consume my being sending me down the stairwell of depression.

I have felt like this before, a long while ago, when a dear friend died rather too quickly…..a beautiful, vivacious girl who enjoyed life to its fullest. I questioned life then too, struggled with my spirituality…but common sense and an unshakeable faith in my Lord prevailed in the end keeping me sane.

And today’s dawn brings me the news of Pakistan’s blood bath. Over a 100 innocent children…..

Are we ever going to stop or are we going to kill ourselves to extinction?

#illridewithyou continues to make headlines on social media so why aren’t we practising it more in everyday life?

Yes, life goes on…which is why I decided to put up this post today. Returning to my semblance of normality but taking a moment here to pray for every single person who has been directly affected by these attacks.

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Today’s recipe is a fish curry, from the region of Karwar, often referred to as the Kashmir of South India for its scenic beauty. With miles of unspoiled, picturesque blue beaches, tropical forests, hills and valleys, Karwar is a breathtakingly beautiful piece of land in Karnataka. If you would love to visit this region, then check out the details here.

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Its close proximity to Goa has largely influenced the Karwari cuisine as symbolized by this Karwari fish curry. A generous use of coconut, seafood, tamarind, kokum are all part of the daily diet, enjoyed along with rice and feni (the drink of Goa!). And you can read more about the Karwari cuisine here.

This Karwari fish curry is a traditional preparation of the Karwar region, except that brown tamarind was used as the souring agent instead of kokum. But if you have kokum at home, go ahead and use it by all means. Again, mackerel is used traditionally but I would recommend this curry with just about any fish or even prawns.

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Absolutely flavourful and best paired with boiled white rice; this Karwari fish curry is resplendent with the flavour and aroma of spices, aromatics and tamarind, all married together by the rich, creaminess of fresh coconut milk.

Recipe Courtesy – Tara Deshpande

Ingredients:

1. 5 king mackerel, cut into medium-sized steaks (any fish can be used)
2. Salt, to season
3. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
4. 2 red onion, finely chopped
5. ½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled, julienned
6. 2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
7. 1-2 tsp tamarind paste
8. 400 ml thick coconut milk

For the spice paste:

9. 1 tsp coriander seeds
10. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
11. 8-9 black peppercorns
12. 8 dried red Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed
13. 1 tsp turmeric powder
14. 4 green chillies, roughly chopped
15. ½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled, grated
16. 2 tbsp roughly chopped white onion
17. 1 tsp flour

For garnish:

18. Juice of ½ a lime
19. 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method:

• Wash the fish and drain thoroughly.
• Dry roast the whole spices for the spice paste in a skillet on medium heat for about 2 minutes, till fragrant.
• Switch off the heat, cool and stir the turmeric powder into the hot spices. Grind to a fine powder.
• Add the green chillies, ginger, onion and rice flour and grind again to a fine consistency…
• Heat oil in a deep pan or wok on medium heat. When hot, sauté the onions, ginger and green chillies for about 1-2 minutes, till the onions are lightly browned.
• Add the ground spice paste and tamarind paste and continue to sauté on low heat for another 1-2 minutes. Add the thick coconut milk, fish pieces and season with salt. Simmer for 5-8 minutes or till the fish is tender.
• Add lime juice and coriander leaves, mix and remove immediately from heat.
• Serve hot with plain, boiled, white rice and pappadums.

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