Category Archives: Seafood

T is for Thyme

Standard

For this years herb garden, we have thyme, basil and parsley. We also have shallots, chives , rosemary and curry leaf from the previous years.

Thyme doesn’t need a lot of water. This is ideal for gardeners like us who don’t like to water too much.

The flowers of thyme are white and as tiny and delicate as the leaves. This flower is my entry for Flower Fest and the current alphabet is T.

Image of thyme flower at the Bookmann. 


Thyme leaves are very fragrant and goes well with veggies, rice, seafood and meat. I remember a Cajun dish with shrimp and thyme from a long time ago. That memory was the inspiration for this dish.

Shrimp with chili-thyme marinade

Recipe:

Garlic- 2 cloves

Thyme sprigs- 3 sprigs ( As the sprigs were tender, I used them whole. )

Crushed red pepper- 1 tsp

Olive oil- enough to make a paste approx. 1 tbsp

Salt to taste.

Shrimp- 1o or 12 cleaned.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind garlic, thyme sprigs, crushed red pepper. After coarsely grinding the above, add olive oil and make into a paste.

Add the paste to the cleaned shrimp and marinate for about half an hour.

Grill or saute the shrimp.

Shrimp served over wild rice

Note: I cooked the shrimp stove top on a cast iron pizza stone. Since the marinade already had oil, there was no need to add any oil to the stone.

The shrimp was very flavorful. I served it with some wild rice. The shrimp would be great as an appetiser.

Kottayam fish curry- Fish in fiery red sauce

Standard

ktm-fish-curry.JPG

Fish is indispensable in Kerala. The way it is made varies from place to place, but it always make it to the table for lunch or dinner. This is how fish curry is usually made in the households in Kottayam. When my grandfather was alive, we had fish every single day. That’s right. Every single day!!

When I blogged an okra recipe recently, I got a lot of requests for the fish curry that was shown in the post. The truth of the matter is that until recently my fish curries never tasted as they should. We started writing down the recipe every time we made it, and made changes to adjust the taste. We believe this recipe comes closest to the fish curry back home. Thanks to Manisha whose initial request started this whole post.

We make our fish curry in a chatti. The chatti in our home has a story to tell. The story that ends with, ” Wives know better”. When we were in Kerala last vacation, I mentioned that I would like to take a chatti back with me. Satish had a big problem with that, and was making all kinds of excuses. He was confident that the chatti wouldn’t make it home in one piece. Thanks to my persistence, the chatti made it home with us. Guess what he wants to bring back this time!! Ha-ha..

Now to the fish. Fresh fish is hard to come by, unless you have a Chinese store with fresh fish. We usually buy catfish from the local grocery store. Mallu stores have frozen fish from Kerala, but some of them lose their taste when frozen. This time we used salmon fillets. Back home, we have meenkarans ( fish monger) that brings fish right to your doorsteps. When I was a kid, they used to come on a cycle, with a basket of fish tied to the back of the cycle. They would honk their horns as a signal, and I was often made to run out of the house to flag him down. Then my mother would look and choose the fish, and sometimes neighbors all gather to discuss fish. If you had a cat, it would be close by, sniffing and rubbing against your legs, hoping to get some heads and tails.

Recipe:

Fish – 1lb. We used salmon fillets this time. We added some salt to the fillets to make them firmer, so that they don’t break easily. If you do this, be careful when you add salt to the curry.

Oil- 2 tbsp ( I use coconut oil)

Curry leaves- 1sprig + 2 or 3 f0r layering in the chatti

Mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp each

Shallots- 4 or 5 , sliced fine

Ginger- 2 tbsp , finely minced

Garlic – 15 cloves( if the cloves are small, leave them whole)

fish-curry-ingredients.JPG

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Red chili powder- 2 tsp

Paprika – 3 tsp

Kudampuli- 2pieces ( clean in running water and soak them in water with some salt added to it)

Water- 1cup or more, as needed

kudampuli.JPG

Kudampuli soaking in salt water

Method:

Step 1:

Layer a few sprigs of curry leaves at the bottom of the chatti. Layer the raw fish on top of that.

fish-in-chatti.JPG

Step2: Making the gravy

Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the fenugreek seeds. When the fenugreek seeds starts to change into a deeper color, add the shallots, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Cook on medium heat till the shallots turn dark brown. Then add the chili powder and turmeric powder. Stir to combine with the oil.

Lower the heat and add paprika. Stir quicky. Paprika burns fast, so don’t leave on fire too long. Add water and the kudampuli which was soaked in some salt water. I usually add the salt water also. It looks muddy from the puli but I think it adds to the taste. Add enough water to make a watery gravy. Bring to a rolling boil.

Step 3: Bringing everything together

Pour this into the fish that has been arranged in the chatti. Cook covered on low medium heat till the fish is cooked ( 15-20 mins). Every 5-8min grab the chatti with mitts and give a slight swirl. This is the best way to make sure the flavors blend without breaking the fish pieces. Cook till the fish is cooked and the gravy is lightly thick. ( some people prefer a watery gravy)

Taste for salt . Just before serving, add some coconut oil on the top and fresh curry leaves to garnish.

Notes:

The curry is good right off the stove, but the flavor intensifies after a day.

The curry can be left out in room temperature, especially in winter. Every night it is slightly warmed over the stove. During winter, our fish curry stays outside for atleast 3 days.

Coriander powder is omitted to increase shelf life.

Adding coconut oil over the fish curry after it is cooked can add a wonderful aroma, and I don’t recommend missing this step.

To serve : My favorite way is to eat this with rice and a thoran.

Also goes well with chappathi, puttu and the perpetual favorite, kappa and meen ( here and here).

Dried shrimp in coconut sauce – Unakka chemmeen curry

Standard

unakka-chemmeen-curry.JPG

We recently tried a recipe from this blog and it turned out great. And last week we tried this dish from the same blog. It was spectacular. Thank you Shiny for posting these favorite dishes. Her blog is like a cookbook dream come true for me.

The dish is made of dried shrimp. This is available in Kerala grocery stores in the US. Fish and coconut are integral to Kerala cuisine, and this dish is a happy combo of the two. Dried fish are stinky, but taste great. The prepared dish doesn’t smell of the dried shrimp at all. Dried shrimp is cooked with some water and mango, coconut ground to a silky paste is added to it and finally dressed up with shallots and curry leaves in coconut oil.

shrimp-dried.JPG

Dried shrimp

Although I didn’t have fresh mango, I substituted amchur powder as the recipe suggested. It worked quite well.

Recipe: Here

This recipe is a keeper. It is easy to make and tastes great. Thank you Shynee!!

chemmeen-with-rice.JPG

Rice with chemmeen curry and radish saute.

Green Blog Project – Fish with baby methi (fenugreek) leaves

Standard

c1.jpg
Methi was a foreign vegetable for me until I started to blog. Foreign in the sense that I have never tasted it. This wasn’t available in Kerala when I was growing up, and even when I was in Delhi, I never ventured to try it. But most Indian food blogs and many non- Indian bloggers featured this veggie, and I had to try it. And of course, I loved it.

Fenugreek is used both as an herb (the leaves) and as a spice(the seed). The yellow, rhombic fenugreek seed is frequently used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders and pastes, and is often encountered in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent and Thailand. The young leaves and sprouts of fenugreek are eaten as greens and the fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor other dishes. The dried leaves have a bitter taste and a strong characteristic smell which means they need to be used sparingly.( Link)

b1.jpg
Then Green Blog Project came along, and most of us started to work the soil and grow food. Indira showed me that methi can be grown in a pot, and so I sprouted methi seeds and potted them. They are growing very well, some in a pot and some directly in the ground.

a.jpg
I harvested some baby methi today to make this recipe. I just snipped the tops of the methi plants. I am not sure if they will keep growing and put out more leaves but we will see. The dish was so wonderful and is wonderful with rice. Thanks Harshita for the recipe.

Recipe

One pomfret cleaned

Chilly powder 1/2 tsp, pinch of turmeric and a pinch of garlic powder ( Combine all the above, and apply on the pomfret. Set aside for about 30 min)

Curry leaves 1 sprig

A handful of methi leaves, cleaned.

b.jpg
Ginger 2 large cloves and ginger 1/2 tsp crushed
Green chillies 2 slit

Onion 1/4 of a big onion, and tomato 1/4 of a big tomato both diced

Coriander powder 2/3 tsp, a Pinch each of jeera/cumin powder, garam masala and fenugreek/asafoetida powder(optional)

Water

Oil

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves for garnish

Method

Heat a non stick pan to fry fish. Add some oil to the pan, place a sprig of curry leaf on the bottom of the plan. Place the fish on top. Fry on both sides till the fish turns brown on each side. I turn the flame on low after the initial sear, and keep the fish covered so it cooks well.

c.jpg
Once the fish is done, we prepare the gravy. In another pan, add some oil. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilies. After 3-4 min when the onions start turning brown, add the coriander and turmeric powder. Let it cook for a min or so. Then add methi, followed by tomato. Once the tomatoes and methi cook down, add the fish to this. Add the jeera powder, garam masala and asafoetida. I added some water into the pan to make some gravy. After about 4-5 min, it is done. Sprinkle coriander leaves just before serving.

d.jpg

LG, here is my submission.
One question, some methi plants have some black spots on their leaves? Any ideas as to what this is?

Here is another dish with methi- Aloo methi

This is my submission for weekend herb blogging hosted by Sweetnicks.

Lamb chops with mint yogurt sauce- recipe

Standard

Creating a beautiful plate of food is immensely satisfying for the eyes and mind. On a weekend day, we decided to take our dining at home to a fancier level and that is how this dish was born.

Lamb chops are always elegant and is one of the easiest meats to cook. The strong flavor of the lamb can stand up to strong flavorings. This recipe for lamb chops is from the cookbook: Gourmet Meals in Minutes. The beautiful picture of the lamb chops on its cover is what made me buy the book.

abs.jpg
Recipe

Mint yogurt ( recipe from Starchefs, Chef Thomas John at Mantra, Boston)

1 cup fresh mint leaves, well rinsed and tightly packed

1 cup cilantro leaves, as above

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup onion, chopped

salt, to taste

1/4 cup raw mango, pitted and sliced

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup plain yogurt

Blend all ingredients in a blender. I used only half of the above measurements for two people.

Lamb chops( Broiled)

8 lamb chops

3 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon each of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, veg.oil and chopped rosemary.
Freshly ground black pepper half tsp or more to taste

Thyme 2 tsp.chopped ( I used a tsp. of dried thyme) – optional

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine soysauce, mustard, Wostershire sauce, veg. oil, pepper, rosemary, thyme into a ziplock bag. Add the lamb. After squeezing the air out, seal the bag and turn to coat the lamb with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 min.

Preheat the broiler. Remove the chops from the marinade. Brush off excess marinade off the bones or else it burns under the broiler. Season the chops with salt and pepper.

Broil the chops 5 inches from the heat until done. 4 min on each side for medium , and about 6-7 min for well done. Remove and cool for a few min and then plate. If desired, you can pan fry the chops before putting under the broiler.

To plate

Create a base using the mint yogurt. Place 2 lamb chops in an intercrossing pattern or side by side as seen in the picture.

Use a tuna can with top and bottom removed. Fill the rice into this to plate rice in a circular shape. If you have another side dish, place it on the side of the lamb chops.

An aphrodisiac menu

Standard


I was quite bored this morning and was just browsing through the TV channels when this show on food network attracted me and the show was on aphrodisiacs. The show was pretty good and as a result I decided to recreate some of the stuff at home.

So when S came back from work, we started on a hunt for oysters. The two local grocery stores did not have any oysters, nor did Trader Joes. And then out of the blue S remembered a fish store he has seen somewhere along the way, and so we went in search of the store. It was quite near to our place and I finally spotted the neon sign saying’Fresh Fish’ and lo and behold there were oysters in the store. They were $ 8 per dozen and we bought half a dozen and headed home all excited to try out the recipe.
Cleaning the oysters were no piece of cake… I could not open a single one. We did not have any oyster knifes or such special equipment for opening those but our regular kitchen knifes did not let us down and S was able to open them after some effort.
So finally the oysters were freed and now they were ready for me. We chugged down two of them raw with some hot sauce and lemon juice and then I followed to cook the rest of them. The recipe can be found here
The recipe was a perfect way to use some of the white truffle oil I had in my pantry.
This was a very delightful dish and whether it worked as an aphrodisiac, I will leave it to your imagination.

And by the way check this out.It is quite interesting..