Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Mathi Vattichathu – Sardines Poached To Dry –Kerala Style


2010
08.18

IMG_7911 

Acclaimed author of many cook books, Food and Wine editor of  Town&Country for over two decades, James Villas wrote in an article called Unsung Sardines – Ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach.  Now, even if I hadn’t read that, I still would assume that these little silver slender beauties had to have high authority in terms of nutrition in order to find their way to my health freak sister Sony’s table every other day ;).  Frankly for me, the nutrition aspect is just an added bonus. I simply love them for their unparalleled flavor.

Fresh sardines are found in plenty in Kerala and hence are cooked very often, usually poached or grilled. Fresh sardines however have been hard to find for me over here. But I do manage to get some good ones at Whole Foods or at my local Chinese market. All my recipes use fresh sardines and since I’ve never used the canned kind I cannot comment about how my recipes might turn out with them.This recipe can of course be tried with any other fish too. Sardines are only ‘my’ preference :).

Ingredients

1 lb sardines cleaned and slit a couple of times on the sides
2 tsp red chili powder (base it on tolerable  spice levels)
1 tsp paprika (mainly for the red color) 
1/4 tsp fenugreek seed powder
5- 6 shallots finely sliced  
1.5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 kudampulli (camboge fruit rinds)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 –3 tbsp coconut oil /any vegetable refined oil
salt to taste

Directions

  • Soak kudampulli in a cup of hot salt water and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add black mustard seeds, when they pop add in the curry leaves and powdered fenugreek seeds
  • Add sliced shallot and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add  ginger -garlic paste and sauté till oil separates.
  • Mix together chili powder, paprika and turmeric powder in a little warm water to make a smooth paste, add to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add soaked kudampulli along with the water and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Add salt, close the lid and let it boil again.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 15– 20 minutes until all/most of the water evaporates and the gravy thickens.
  • Season again with 2 finely sliced shallots fried deep in 1 tsp of coconut oil, mustard and curry leaves if desired.
  • Serve with Rice or Kappa
  • Mathi Vattichathu – Sardines Poached To Dry –Kerala Style


    2010
    08.18

    IMG_7911 

    Acclaimed author of many cook books, Food and Wine editor of  Town&Country for over two decades, James Villas wrote in an article called Unsung Sardines – Ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach.  Now, even if I hadn’t read that, I still would assume that these little silver slender beauties had to have high authority in terms of nutrition in order to find their way to my health freak sister Sony’s table every other day ;).  Frankly for me, the nutrition aspect is just an added bonus. I simply love them for their unparalleled flavor.

    Fresh sardines are found in plenty in Kerala and hence are cooked very often, usually poached or grilled. Fresh sardines however have been hard to find for me over here. But I do manage to get some good ones at Whole Foods or at my local Chinese market. All my recipes use fresh sardines and since I’ve never used the canned kind I cannot comment about how my recipes might turn out with them.This recipe can of course be tried with any other fish too. Sardines are only ‘my’ preference :).

    Ingredients

    1 lb sardines cleaned and slit a couple of times on the sides
    2 tsp red chili powder (base it on tolerable  spice levels)
    1 tsp paprika (mainly for the red color) 
    1/4 tsp fenugreek seed powder
    5- 6 shallots finely sliced  
    1.5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    2 kudampulli (camboge fruit rinds)
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 –3 tbsp coconut oil /any vegetable refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Soak kudampulli in a cup of hot salt water and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add black mustard seeds, when they pop add in the curry leaves and powdered fenugreek seeds
  • Add sliced shallot and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add  ginger -garlic paste and sauté till oil separates.
  • Mix together chili powder, paprika and turmeric powder in a little warm water to make a smooth paste, add to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add soaked kudampulli along with the water and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Add salt, close the lid and let it boil again.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 15– 20 minutes until all/most of the water evaporates and the gravy thickens.
  • Season again with 2 finely sliced shallots fried deep in 1 tsp of coconut oil, mustard and curry leaves if desired.
  • Serve with Rice or Kappa
  • Meen Molee / Halibut in Spicy Coconut Gravy


    2010
    07.20

    IMG_7690

    So, what do you think of my new bootylicious sexy acquisition from India? I can’t describe what joy it has been to cook in it. I have 4 of these meen chettis. One specially reserved for the meen curries, another for the thorans and mezuhuveratis and the remaining two will act as stand bys. That’s the only way I can keep my chettis from harms way. Oh, don’t sneer. That’s how things work in this cosmic world of providence! If you have a back up, nothing can/will go wrong. If you DON’T, things can go spiraling out of control. In this case, I can be sure to wake up, and find my chettis victims of a bizarre earthquake, with the epicenter  right under their butts. Leer and snicker all you want people, but I’m telling you, when it comes to fate, no-siree, uh-uh, I’m not taking my chances.
    I shall reserve my findings of Karma and the workings of the mystical world  for another day or may be another site. What do you suggest? Do you think  people coming here would be interested in more than food and care two hoots about where their rear ends would eventually rest? And,  I digress (again!).

    So, the Meen Molee is Kerala’s answer for a sea food dish that goes well with Indian flat breads. While I’m a huge fan of the traditional fish curry with the kudam pulli in it, I’m really not much into this dish. But, Roy and Nish could lick bowls of this clean! And since we’ve made the transition from (slurp slurp) rice to rotis for dinner, they’ve been lucky, as I’ve had to make more of this kind.
    My suggestion while making this would be to use less fishy fishes or, to use fillets where you don’t need to deal with the skin. Again, IMO only. I’ve used halibut here. But you could use anything like salmon, cod, tilapia fillets etc.

    IMG_7643

     Ingredients
    1 lb skinless fillets of Halibut cut into one serving size pieces
    1 medium red onion finely sliced
    2 –3 green chilies slit into two
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 large tomato cut into large chunks
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp coriander powder
    1/2 tsp black pepper powder
    1/2 tsp kerala garam masala
    1 tsp red chili powder
    1 cup thick coconut milk from a can (if you are using fresh coconut milk, use all the milk extracted from 1 small coconut, keep the thick and the thin milk separate)
    3 tbsp lemon juice 
    2 tbsp coconut oil
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    1/2 tsp powdered roasted fenugreek seeds
    1-2 sprigs of curry leaves
    2- 3 shallots finely sliced
    Salt – to taste

     Directions

  • Marinate the fish fillets with lemon juice, salt, black pepper and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, add powdered fenugreek and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add sliced onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another minute.
  • Add green chilies,tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, garam masala, salt and sauté well until the tomatoes form a mush.
  • Add one cup of water if you are using canned milk or one cup of thin coconut milk if you are using fresh milk.
  • When the coconut milk/water  comes to boil, add the fish fillets and cook covered on medium flame for 10 minutes or till the gravy starts to thicken.
  • Pour 1 cup of thick coconut milk and simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a pan, add in mustard seeds, when they pop, add the curry leaves and shallots.
  • Sauté until the shallots are nicely fired.
  • Pour the seasoning over the curry, mix gently and switch off the flame.
  • From Pala with Love


    2010
    04.19

    IMG_7075As Benny Chetan, my cousin, drives us to the scores of relatives from my side of the family, living in and around Pala, looking at the rubber plantations on either sides of the serpentine roads, I feel a lump in my throat. The more I clear my throat in an effort to  get rid of it, the bigger I sense it grow. It has been seven years since my last visit. Pretty long for a life that has seen only 3 decades. Yet, not long enough.

    As I feel the wind whistling and hear the cicadas call, memories of 7 years back, 10 years back, 20 and 30, flood my mind. Seems like yesterday when my sisters and I, carried our flimsy thorthu and walked bear foot to the near by thoodu, for a bath and and fun fishing. Yesterday, as Amma balled large grains of boiled rice with nai and onaka-meen and tossed them into my 3 year old mouth, that reluctantly opened as wide as her eyes did at my slightest refusal to eat. Yesterday, when Chachan and Amachi  married me off from the tharavad, with kisses and blessings to a nice boy from Delhi. Kerala, sure does bring about mixed feelings within me. I’m still not sure what tugs the chord. Is it the thick family ties? Or is it the exhilarating smell of the rich soil and brassy green around me?

    IMG_7036

    We arrived yesterday at Poovarani, my dad’s home. It is Roy’s first visit here. This trip was long over due. Traditionally, we were supposed to do this 7 years back as the manavati and manavalan. Then, circumstances and Roys work commitments had us flying back to SFO the very next day of our wedding, much to the disappointment and score keeping of my extended family all over the terrains of Pala. I’m glad now, though 7 years late and 3 year old Nish on the side, we are here. I had been waiting desperately all these years to show Roy this major part of my past in the people and the land around here.

    He was slightly taken aback when we first stepped in though. Wasn’t prepared I guess, for the overly dramatic hugs, sloppy kisses and tears. But, when all the hullabaloo of the initial meeting had died down and we had settled in, and when one of the the maids in the scullery enquired about my mishap with the hair, he realized just how deep rooted my attachment and belonging to this place was. He understood why I could spend hours over the phone with these people thousands of miles away from me, discussing family politics and drama of every day life. People who had not seen me in years, still knew why my hair looked freaky and what Nish’s favorite food was.Though popularly denied, for us it does feel like blood is thicker than water.

    Chukka Puzhukku

    chukkaLike most other South Indians, Keralites too, eat a minimum of 5 good meals a day, and the lavish evening kaapi is one of them. To help Roy build up an appetite ( or to burn up the millions of calories he had devoured just a couple of hours before) [read more]

     

     

     

    Small Fried Fish

    IMG_7214

    The smaller the fish the tastier they come. Don’t ask me the hows and whys. It is just my personal opinion and I think I couldn’t be more right ;).

    The smaller fishes are a popular sell in Kerala too. Now and even as a child, I could eat just about anything with these! [read more]

     

     

     

     

     Kanni Manga / Pickled Tender Mangoes

    IMG_7209 Coming Soon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Kerala Fish Fry


    2010
    04.16

    The smaller the fish the tastier they come. Don’t ask me the hows and whys. It is just my personal opinion and I think I couldn’t be more right ;).

    The smaller fishes are a popular sell in Kerala too. Now and even as a child, I could eat just about anything with these!

    IMG_7229_2

    Ingredients
    1 lb small fish like parava/false trevally (my favorite) or killi meen/threadfin bream cleaned and whole
    1 tbsp of fresh ginger garlic paste ( ginger and garlic in a 1:1 ratio)
    1/2 tsp shallot paste
    1 tsp chili powder (base it on tolerable spice levels)
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp black ground pepper
    salt to taste
    1 tsp of lime juice (optional) 
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    coconut oil/refined vegetable oil for roasting.

     

    Directions

  • Make a couple of slits on either side of each fish and marinate them with a tsp of lime juice and set aside.
  • Mix all the spices with ginger-garlic, shallot and salt  to make a thick smooth paste. The marinade should be slightly on the saltier side.
  • Apply the paste on all the fishes making sure all sides are completely coated by a thin layer of marinade.
  • Set it aside for 30 mins or so.
  • Heat oil in a shallow non stick pan and  slide in the fishes one at a time.
  • Roast on medium heat and flip the fishes to other side after 2-3 min or when you see the fish is 3/4 cooked from the bottom.
  • The time you let to roast on each side depends on the size of each piece and how crisp you would like it to be.
  • When done place the pieces in paper towel to soak up any extra oil.
  • Garnish with  ground pepper and fried curry leaves.
  •  

    IMG_7214

    Mexican Anybody?


    2010
    03.29

    IMG_5938

    Whenever I make my occasional visits to the office, my Boss always treats me with a good lunch. It is his way of appreciating the 60 mile commute I make to reach there. He’s either  plain nice or he’s too busy to realize that he signs my pay checks and that these gestures of politeness are totally unnecessary, and whether I like it or not, I  darn well need to get my fat behind there when he requires me to.  I hope though, it is the former. Because I’d hate the day when he’d recover from his amnesia and I’d be left to eat those cold sandwiches from the next door deli. What can I say? My belly has been spoilt rotten with these elegant treats!

    At first, when he suggested a nice Indian place, I gladly agreed. Assuming it was the popular preference among my All-American colleagues, I gave no second thought to it. But, during the second and subsequent 3rd and 4th visit when we had exhausted all the fine Indian restaurants of the Marin county, and were redoing the circle, it slowly dawned on me that they were doing it all for me. Me? ME? A thorough bred Indian, who cooked and ate three, sometimes four (I can’t help it, I get hungry) Indian meals a day? No offence implied, but, would you offer a fish cold water? Look, look there’s ice in it. Get excited!!!

    Well, I had to get out of it. I couldn’t deprive my greed of those fabulous restaurants and cuisines in the North bay, so waiting for me to explore. I hatched up a plan. I decided to  play the pregnant woman & nausea card. It came easy for me. Sincerity has never been one of my finer virtues and I always try to make the best use of the card I’m dealt. So, the next time at work when a colleague, for politeness sake, asked me how I was doing, apart from my usual rants about the discomforts of carrying a 6 lb something being inside me, I threw in how horribly nauseous I was and how Indian food made it worse. I caused sufficient distress in my desperate efforts, volunteering unsanitized and unsolicited information that I literally turned faces green!!! Eventually the whole office had an ear about my beef with Indian food, and come lunch time, the Boss had a miraculous change of plans. That afternoon we all sat at the fine Las Camellias, where we were treated with one of the finest Mexican food that I’ve ever eaten. I was so happy to get out of the previous set up that I couldn’t help but exaggerate how impressed I was. And what do you know? The next time I was making one my sporadic visits, guess where we went for lunch? Las Camellias again!!! I wasn’t joking when I said I went overboard with the praises. My Boss, the nice man that he is, didn’t think twice about taking me anywhere else. All because I’d declared – oooh the food is so divine, I could die here.

    So, its been Las Camellias ever since. But, I’m not complaining. The food is indeed divine there. The dying part, I’m not sure though. But, I love it so much, that all the Mexican food I attempt to make, I try to recreate with my memory from there. And the fact that I’ve eaten there quite a number of times now ;), the spices are well registered in my buds that I’ve almost succeeded in making it exactly like they do. Though I hope the chef there never ever ever gets to read this ;)!!!!

    Mexican Rice with Bell Peppers

    IMG_5934

    This rice was my saving grace when I was pregnant with Nish. Though horribly nauseous all the time, I still craved for rice. Now, don”t ask me how that works ..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     Shrimp And Red Pepper Quesadillas

    IMG_5948Quesadillas are like burgers you can make them any which way you want as long you have tortillas and cheese with you. Everything else that goes inside depends on what you are looking ..[read more]

     

     

     

     

    Refried Black Beans

    IMG_5946 While making refried beans, though pinto is more popular, I usually use Black beans. Some one once told me they were healthier.,,[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Chicken Mole Poblano 

    IMG_5951

    This is one dish, when I make I can be assured, doing the dishes will be easy. Roy, literally wipes (licks?) clean all the pots, pans, bowls, plates, spoons, everything that has had even a remote acquaintance ..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Shrimp And Red Pepper Quesadillas


    2010
    03.28

    IMG_5948

    Quesadillas are like burgers you can make them any which way you want as long you have tortillas and cheese with you. Everything else that goes inside depends on what you are looking for. You can add tomatoes for the tang, onions for the crunch, meat to make it hearty, vegetables to make it healthy, guacamole if you think it is not rich enough already, and spices if you want to make it interesting. I use jack pepper cheese because you know, being Indian and all, I just can’t kill my addiction to heat! You can serve it as the main or as the side. Depends on what else you have on the plate.

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced small
    1/2 pickled jalapeno, chopped
    1/2 cup red onions, chopped
    5 -6 medium sized shrimp, coarsely chopped
    1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    4 6-inch flour tortillas
    3/4 cup shredded jack pepper cheese
    2 tbsp tomato sauce (from the can)
    1 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    big pinch of ground cumin (optional)

    Directions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan.
  • Add onions and peppers, sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add tomato sauce, jalapeno and the shrimp. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is cooked.
  • Add cilantro. Divide the mixture and three equal portions.
  • Heat a little butter on a wide non stick pan.
  • Place a tortilla, spoon over the cooked mixture onto the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese.
  • Top with another tortilla and press down.
  • Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown and crisp on the bottom.
  • Carefully turn to the second side, and continue cooking until golden on the second side.
  • Take off the pan, and on cutting board, cut into wedges.
  • Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.
  • Serve hot with sour cream and other Mexican sides or by itself.
  • Meen Pollichathu – Roasted Pomfret Steamed in Banana Leaves – A Kerala Delicacy


    2010
    03.23

    IMG_5833 

    You know your family eats a lot of fish when your preschooler looks into the fish tank at school and screams, “Look Mama, fish!! Yummy!!”. Then, pretends to reach out and gulp down the little fishes, rubs his tiny pot belly and says “Mmm tasty, that was goood!!”. Of course, I gave my usual God-whose-kid-is-that?  look and walked away, pretending like I had nothing to do with him. Don’t worry, I never lose him during these acts of disownment. The little piece of embarrassment always follows me, like a gosling does a mother goose. I don’t blame him either – obviously, the only reason I didn’t abandon him completely and let him hold my hand a little while later (when I was sure, we were off the radar of the folks who heard his verbal sacrilege by the aquarium), was because I understand it must be hard for his 3 year old brain to distinguish pet from food, when most of time, we are serving him dinner with what the neighbors flaunt around as pets :P.

    Yes, we the Tharakans, are die-hard carnivores and fish for us is a staple. Our recent favorite has become the Meen Pollichathu. Traditionally, this recipe requires that the fish along with the spices be wrapped tight in banana leaves and roasted on a greased pan, allowing the fish to cook in the steam trapped inside the leaves. Instead of grilling them in a pan, I bake them in the oven. The banana leaf imparts an amazing flavor to the fish  and if you are lucky to get your hands on some(I get mine from the Asian market), that would be the ideal way to make this recipe. If you can’t, use aluminum foil for wrapping and rest assured, minus the banana leaf flavor, everything else will taste just like the original.

    If it is your first time trying this recipe, I’d suggest you use one of the less fishy fishes like salmon, halibut, tilapia or any other of your favorites. If you like it, only then try the recipe with the whole pomfrets. I say this because fish recipes can get too overbearing at times and you need to approach it with caution until you have acquired a taste for it.  Also if you are using fillet and not the whole fish, reduce the spices a tad bit and use only 1/2 the quantity of lemon juice mentioned in the recipe.

    IMG_5830

    Ingredients

    2 whole small pomfrets, cleaned 
    salt  to taste 
    11/2 tsp black pepper powder
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    4 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1/4 tsp kerala garam masala
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powdered
    2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    2 tbsp coconut Oil/ refined vegetable oil
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves
    1 cup finely sliced shallot
    2 green chilies
    2 medium tomatoes. chopped
    3/4 cup thick coconut milk (from the can would be perfect)
    12 thin slices of fresh lemon ( this makes a huge difference in the taste and is a must)

    Directions

  • Make a few slits till the bone on both sides of the fishes, perpendicular to the spine. (If you are using  fillets, omit this step)
  • Mix salt, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp each of red chili and paprika powder and 1/2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Marinate the fish with the above mixture inside out and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  • Heat oil in a pan, slightly roast the fish until it is caramelized on both sides but not fully cooked.
  • Take out the fish and set aside. If there is any liquid from the marinade left, keep it aside to add while making the masala.
  • In the same pan, splutter mustard seeds, add fenugreek powder, green chilies, curry leaves, shallots and sauté until the shallots are golden brown.
    Add tomatoes, all the remaining spice powders, ginger-garlic, leftover marinade and sauté  until the tomatoes form a mush.
  • Add thick coconut milk and salt to the masala and sauté on low heat until the masala mixture thickens and reduces to about half the original quantity.
  • Add fish and coat it thoroughly with the masala gravy.
  • Wrap each fish along with 6 lemon slices each(3 on each side) in a piece of banana leaf or greased foil. Secure with tooth pick if using a the leaf.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and onions, serve hot.
  • Meen Pollichathu – Roasted Pomfret Steamed in Banana Leaves – A Kerala Delicacy


    2010
    03.23

    IMG_5833 

    You know your family eats a lot of fish when your preschooler looks into the fish tank at school and screams, “Look Mama, fish!! Yummy!!”. Then, pretends to reach out and gulp down the little fishes, rubs his tiny pot belly and says “Mmm tasty, that was goood!!”. Of course, I gave my usual God-whose-kid-is-that?  look and walked away, pretending like I had nothing to do with him. Don’t worry, I never lose him during these acts of disownment. The little piece of embarrassment always follows me, like a gosling does a mother goose. I don’t blame him either – obviously, the only reason I didn’t abandon him completely and let him hold my hand a little while later (when I was sure, we were off the radar of the folks who heard his verbal sacrilege by the aquarium), was because I understand it must be hard for his 3 year old brain to distinguish pet from food, when most of time, we are serving him dinner with what the neighbors flaunt around as pets :P.

    Yes, we the Tharakans, are die-hard carnivores and fish for us is a staple. Our recent favorite has become the Meen Pollichathu. Traditionally, this recipe requires that the fish along with the spices be wrapped tight in banana leaves and roasted on a greased pan, allowing the fish to cook in the steam trapped inside the leaves. Instead of grilling them in a pan, I bake them in the oven. The banana leaf imparts an amazing flavor to the fish  and if you are lucky to get your hands on some(I get mine from the Asian market), that would be the ideal way to make this recipe. If you can’t, use aluminum foil for wrapping and rest assured, minus the banana leaf flavor, everything else will taste just like the original.

    If it is your first time trying this recipe, I’d suggest you use one of the less fishy fishes like salmon, halibut, tilapia or any other of your favorites. If you like it, only then try the recipe with the whole pomfrets. I say this because fish recipes can get too overbearing at times and you need to approach it with caution until you have acquired a taste for it.  Also if you are using fillet and not the whole fish, reduce the spices a tad bit and use only 1/2 the quantity of lemon juice mentioned in the recipe.

    IMG_5830

    Ingredients

    2 whole small pomfrets, cleaned 
    salt  to taste 
    11/2 tsp black pepper powder
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    4 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1/4 tsp kerala garam masala
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powdered
    2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    2 tbsp coconut Oil/ refined vegetable oil
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves
    1 cup finely sliced shallot
    2 green chilies
    2 medium tomatoes. chopped
    3/4 cup thick coconut milk (from the can would be perfect)
    12 thin slices of fresh lemon ( this makes a huge difference in the taste and is a must)

    Directions

  • Make a few slits till the bone on both sides of the fishes, perpendicular to the spine. (If you are using  fillets, omit this step)
  • Mix salt, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp each of red chili and paprika powder and 1/2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Marinate the fish with the above mixture inside out and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  • Heat oil in a pan, slightly roast the fish until it is caramelized on both sides but not fully cooked.
  • Take out the fish and set aside. If there is any liquid from the marinade left, keep it aside to add while making the masala.
  • In the same pan, splutter mustard seeds, add fenugreek powder, green chilies, curry leaves, shallots and sauté until the shallots are golden brown.
    Add tomatoes, all the remaining spice powders, ginger-garlic, leftover marinade and sauté  until the tomatoes form a mush.
  • Add thick coconut milk and salt to the masala and sauté on low heat until the masala mixture thickens and reduces to about half the original quantity.
  • Add fish and coat it thoroughly with the masala gravy.
  • Wrap each fish along with 6 lemon slices each(3 on each side) in a piece of banana leaf or greased foil. Secure with tooth pick if using a the leaf.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and onions, serve hot.
  • Chinese – An order of 2- Entrée Plate Coming Right up


    2010
    03.14

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    Ok, I’m being upfront in saying this -These are not Indo Chinese recipes (if that was what you were hoping for). Is it authentic Chinese? I’m afraid, not. The recipes are as Chinese as you think ‘Panda Express’ is ;).

    While dining out, for my family, the husband, the son and myself  included, good taste and some amount of hygiene is all that it takes, to float our boat.  We don’t care much for authenticity, snooty ambiances or high profile chefs. On the other hand, throw in some confusion, a harried waiter messing up with orders, a whining child there, a falling cutlery here,  and we’ll blend right in. Owe it to my thrifty Mallu blood, I hate to see good money go down the drain, and that, is exactly what I think happens at most of these supercilious restaurants. Their bite size portions, invariably leaves me eating a follow up dinner at home or, when fate is out bent on grudging me, I wind up to-going the insipid spread, and after having paid a couple of hundred dollar for a an ounce of salmon or crab, I’m back to square one, behind the apron, altering the packed meals to fit our tastes.
    In comparison, this bourgeois American-Chinese chain, though might not have lofty sounding names on their menu, has always managed to provide hearty satisfying meals for my family, every time we’ve eaten at the food court, while shopping at the local mall. I accept, the food is slightly on the greasier side than I would like (the only reason, I try making them myself). But, I find the taste awesome. So, whenever I have lots of veggies in the fridge and when there is very little time to cook, I invariably try to imitate Panda express at home.

    Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Asparagus in Chili Garlic Sauce

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     The best way to use up left over vegetables that don’t need much cooking time, is to make a stir-fry out of them. You can use any combination of vegetables you like. .[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Ginger Sesame Shrimp with Snow Peas

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    The vibrant colors of fresh vegetables never fail to excite me.  I always try to pick a couple of  bright colored vegetables while I grocery shop..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     Chinese Egg Fried Rice

    IMG_5516The trick to getting fried rice to smell and taste like the ‘Chinese’ kind, is to add the rice when the eggs are 1/2 done..[read more]