Pan-fried #Spicy #salmon fillets with #butter

I love these salmon steaks, marinated in Indian spices then pan fried in butter. A little bit naughty but a lot of nice!

Served here with a beetroot salad, Red lentil dhal https://freespiritfood.net/2015/08/16/red-lentil-tarka-dhal-with-turmeric-and-ginger/.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

2 boneless salmon fillets, skin on
1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter

Method:

1. Marinate salmon fillets with garlic, spices, salt and oil for 25-30 minutes or longer.

2. Heat non-stick pan until hot, reduce heat to medium and place salmon fillets face down in pan and fry for 4 minutes or so,until sealed and browned. Add butter to pan.

3. Flip fillets and fry skin side down until skin is crispy about 4-5 Minutes.

4. Serve immediately with butter sauce drizzled over fillets and garnished with coriander.

Baked Fish with spicy Tahini and onion sauce

This is my take on a traditional Lebanese sauce to go with baked fish. It’s simple to make and the cholesterol free Tahini(sesame paste) sauce I use makes it a much healthier option than cream. The lemony, garlic flavours combine with the nutty flavour of the Tahini and sweet, slightly caramelised onion and spicy chilli into a delicious creamy topping to go with the baked fish. We had it here with a mixed salad including  artichokes which complimented the middle Eastern flavours well.

Prep time:  5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
500g firm fish fillets like  flathead or snapper
1 lemon finely sliced into rings
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Tahini sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium onion thinly sliced in half moons
1 large red chilli finely chopped
1/3 cup cold water
1/ 2 teaspoon cummin powder
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or coriander

Method:
Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 Farenheit)
Line an ovenproof dish with baking paper and place lemon slices on base
Season fish with salt and pepper, cummin and chilli flakes if using

 

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Seasoned fish on bed of lemon slices

Pour over 1/3 cup lemon juice and reserve the rest for sauce
Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Place fish in oven to bake for 15-20 minutes until starting to become golden but do not overcook

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cook onions with chilli and half the garlic

Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pan, add onions and cook until transparent, then add half the crushed garlic and the fresh red chilli and cook slowly for about 10 minutes until onion starts to caramelise slightly. Remove from heat.

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Ingredients for spicy tahini sauce

In a mini food processor, place tahini sauce, rest of garlic, 1/3 cup lemon juice,some salt, pepper, cold water and whizz until thickened and pale.
Place pan with onions back on heat, add tahini sauce mixture and heat through. When warm add parsley or coriander, mix through and remove from heat.

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Tahini sauce thickens and goes pale when processed with other ingredients

Remove fish from oven and place fillets on serving dish or individual plates, spoon over sauce and serve with salad. Crispy Lebanese bread or plain rice would go well with this too.
Serves 2

Salmon En Croute with fennel, dill and chilli butter

This recipe is inspired by Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver who both have very different versions of the classic Salmon en Croute. According to my google search the term “en Croute” refers to food cooked in pastry in the oven, most commonly salmon or beef. For the Salmon En Croute, Rick Stein in his recipe book Seafood Cookbook uses a butter with currants and mace spiced butter filling, whereas Jamie Oliver uses a spinach and watercress creme fraiche filling. As I decided to make this after I had already done the grocery shopping, I thought I’d try a filling with ingredients I had which I knew would go well with salmon.

The resulting pastry parcel with a homemade fennel, dill and chilli butter was absolutely delicious seved with a homemade kale,carrot and red cabbage coleslaw with avocado and tomatoes.

It was easy to make using store bought frozen pastry and you could just experiment with the type of flavoured butter filling you’d like. I would recommend using some substantial ingredients, like the thin fennel slices I added, to introduce some additional texture to the filling.

These parcels would be excellent with a crisp green salad and/some roast potatoes. Be aware of the size of the salmon fillets you use, as this quickly becomes a very filling meal. In fact we couldn’t finish our serves so next time I would probably just cut one large salmon fillet in half and make individual portions to serve 2, or use 2 large salmon fillets to make 4 individual parcels.

It’s advisable to let the parcels rest for at least 10 minutes after taking out of the oven – this lets the juices stay in the fish. This is a dish that would be just as impressive for a formal dinner, as it would be as a delicious buffet item or just lukewarm at a picnic!

Prep time: 15 minutes  Chilling time: 1/2 hour  Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Ingredients:

2 medium size boneless salmon fillets, skin removed
2 square sheets of stone bought (Pampas) puff pastry
1 small bulb fennel, tips and fronds removed, and very thinly sliced
1 medium size red chilli chopped (optional)
handful of dill leaves finely chopped
50g of unsalted butter softened but not melted
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten to use as egg wash
1 sprig continental parsley leaves roughly chopped

Method

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Stuff salmon pockets with herbed butter
  1. Take 2 square sheets of puff pastry out of the freezer and packaging to defrost for about 10 minutes
  2. Blend 2/3 of the fennel with the chopped chilli in a spice grinder or blender until a rough, textured paste forms (not too fine)
  3. Mix paste well with softened butter, add chopped dill and ground pepper to your taste
  4. Pat salmon fillets dry with paper towel and make a deep slit in the thickest part of each fillet trying to make each “pocket” as deep as possible without cutting through to the other end
  5. Lay rest of thinly sliced fennel, fill pocket with herbed butter, and add a few parsley leaves before pressing salmon closed.
  6. Place each salmon topside down in centre of puff pastry, brush edges with egg wash then turn over long edges and gently seal creating a long “seam”.
  7. Turn over with “seam” on the bottom, trim short edges close to edge of filletand press with a fork to seal.image
  8. Make decorative topping with leftover pastry and use a teaspoon to create a fish scale pattern across the parcel.
  9. Place parcels in freezer for 1/2 hour or fridge for an hour
  10. Put a large baking tray in oven and pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celcius
  11. Remove parcels from freezer/fridge and brush with beaten egg all over

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12. Carefully remove hot baking tray from oven and cover with greaseproof paper, place parcels on top, Bake in oven for 25 -35 minutes, if pastry is browning too quickly cover with a tent of foil.

13. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with salads and sauces of your choice

Fish Briyani with Tomato Chutney & Turmeric Rice

This Fish Briyani is based on a recipe from my Aunty Vimala who inspired my interest in cooking when I was young. I can still vividly recall the enticing smells of spices cooking and the delicious flavour combinations that came from her kitchen. I wrote this recipe down, taking notes as she made it, when I last visited South Africa in 1997.

The spicy tomato chutney, fresh herbs, sweet caramelised onions and lightly fried fish combine to create a more-ish, layered fish dish that is delicious on its own or with youghurt, mango or mint chutney and pickles to the side.

This is a lovely dish to serve as part of a buffet lunch or dinner as it is actually nicer warm, rather than piping hot, and even better the next day.

Don’t put off by the number of steps and spices, it really is a matter of making each of the components seperately and then combining into the completed layered dish. Once you’ve done the prep it’s just a matter of putting it in the oven and because it can be prepared even a day ahead and reheated in the microwave it is excellent for entertaining.

Preparation time: 30-35 minutes Cooking time: 60 minutes
Ingredients:

700g firm white boneless fish fillets like snapper or flathead, cut into medium size pieces (I used small flathead fillets in this recipe)
1 1/4 cups basmati rice par-boiled with 1/4 tspn turmeric to make it golden in colour

2 medium size brown onions sliced thinly
3 medium size ripe tomatoes chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped roughly
Large Knob (equal to amount of garlic)of ginger peeled
2 sprigs of curry leaves
2-4 small green chillies chopped finely
4 tablespoons coriander leaves and same amount of mint leaves chopped
1.5 cups chicken stock
5 tablespoons or so vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of butter

Dry Spices – (see quantities in method below)
Chilli powder, cummin powder, turmeric, fennel powder, cinnamon sticks, cummin seeds, fennel seeds, salt, sugar

Method:

1. Crush ginger and garlic together in a mortar and pestle.

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Marinating fish fillets for briyani

2. Marinate fish fillets, for half an hour, at least with 1/2 tspn chilli powder, 1/2 tspn turmeric, 1/2 tspn cummin powder, 1/4 tspn fennel powder, 1/2 tspn crushed ginger and garlic, pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

3. Par boil basmati rice with 1/4 tspn turmeric, strain and set aside. Make sure rice is only half cooked or it will turn gluggy when cooked in oven.

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Par boiled basmati rice cooked with turmeric

4. Make tomato chutney: Heat oil over medium heat in heavy based pot, add 1-2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tspn cummin seeds, 1 tspn fennel seeds, curry leaves from both sprigs and fry until fragrant; add 3/4 of the sliced onions and fry gently until translucent, add 1/2 tspn chilli powder, 1/2 tspoon fennel powder, 1/2 tspn turmeric powder, 1/2 tspn salt, 1 tsp. sugar, add green chillies and rest of the ginger and garlic and sautée gently for 1 minute being careful not to burn spices, add tomatoes and 1 cup of chicken stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes degenerate and stock evaporates and oil starts to reappear. The resulting chutneys should be moist but not watery. Taste to see if extra salt is needed.

5. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius

5. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in pan and fry fish fillets for 1 minute on each side to “seal” – remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

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Lightly fried “sealed” fish fillets

6. Chop coriander and mint roughly

7. Assembly: coat medium size ovenproof dish with 1 tablespoon of oil, put a thin layer of rice on the bottom, put a thin layer of tomato chutney over rice(remove cinnamon sticks from chutney), sprinkle 1/2 of fresh herbs over the tomato chutney, place all the fish gently on top of the chutney, put remaining chutney over fish trying to spread evenly across dish, sprinkle remaining mint and coriander on fish, add remaining rice to cover fish. Using a spoon sprinkle 1/4 cup of stock over rice. Cover dish with foil or lid and place in oven for 35-40 minutes. Check on dish to add more stock if rice is drying out too much. Ten minutes before the end, add little “dollops” of butter across surface of rice, cover again before placing in oven for last ten minutes.

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Layer rice, chutney, fresh herbs and fish

8. Fry remaining sliced onion in oil or butter until golden brown and lightly caramelised, drain on paper towel.

9. Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with onion and herbs for coriander and mint for garnish. Allow to rest for 10-30 minutes.

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Fish Briyani garnished with fried onions and fresh coriander and mint

10. Serve as a feature dish in a buffet with yoghurt raita, salads, pickles and chutneys of your choice.

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Fish Briyani with tomato chutney and turmeric rice

Serves 3-4 depending on size of serves

Review: Bali Asli Fishing and Cooking Class experience

This is the second cooking class experience that I have done through Bali Asli, which is based up in the hills of East Bali overlooking Mt Agung.

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The Jungkung, traditional Balinese fishing boat, that took us out for our fishing experience.

This time we chose the Fishing Experience package that combines a morning boat trip departing at 8am from White Sand Beach, near Jasri village and out into the surrounding bay. We were picked up from Turtle Bay Hideaway and driven right down to White Sand beach where a local fisherman was waiting for us with his Jungkung(traditional Balinese outrigger fishing boat). We were pushed out into the water by a number of other fisherman and soon were speeding along to our first fishing spot as the sun climbed higher into the sky over the glistening waters.

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Great views out to island outcrops and back to the shore in the waters off Jasri, East Bali

We were given substantial hand reels and bait to use in our endeavours to catch fish, but despite trying a number of spots we only managed to catch one small fish which we threw back. The currents were really strong, swirling the waters in the bay, which our local expert told us was “no good” for fishing. The local fishermen go out at 5am – early bird …and all that!

The boat trip itself was really enjoyable as we got great views back to the shore and close up to some of the island outcrops. Lovely way to start the day.

Afterwards we were driven up through some of the towns of East Bali, like Amlapura, with beautiful gardens and spotless streets winding up the hills to the stunning location of Bali Asli, which is owned and run by Australian expat Penelope Williams.

There we were greeted with a cooling drink and morning tea goodies including Sumping (steamed coconut custard cakes with ripe jackfruit) and Nangke Goreng (battered, fried jackfruit fritters) – both delicious. This was to get our energy up for the pounding of the Bumbu Bali (spice paste), mouldings of chicken satays, wrapping of fish and tofu in banana leaves, mixing of salad and stir frying of Nasi Goreng which was to come!

Dewa, one of the senior chefs at Bali Asli restaurant, first sat us down and explained the various herbs and spices we would be using, before taking us on a short tour of the garden where much of the restaurants herbs and vegetables are grown.

We were then allocated our own work area and guided through the making of each dish with very helpful tips and a few tricks e.g how to make little banana boats and “money bags” for grilling of the fish and steaming of the tofu.

The cooking class itself goes for about 2 hours but the time flies and we were very pleased with ourselves when we sat down to eat all the delicious dishes we had cooked around 1pm.

Whilst I had done the same menu when I last visited Bali Asli, I still learnt a lot this time again, and as there were only 2 of us in the class this time we received much more personal attention.

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Pesah Be Pasih – spiced fish fillet in banana leaf parcel

The cooking experiences at Bali Asli are just that – total experiences, combining a great insight into Balinese tradition and culture with excellent advice, guidance through the step by step process for each dish, and the opportunity for personal hands-on practice, rather than just watching an instructor making everything.

On both occasions that I have participated I have thoroughly enjoyed the “immersion” experience (See review of Balinese Village Cooking Class Experience)and the beautiful drive up and back from Bali Asli with its stunning views across the green valleys and ricefields to Mt Agung.

For more information, visit: http://www.baliasli.com.au

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Stunning views from Bali Asli, Karangasem, East Bali to Mt Agung

Snapper in Indian “Crazy Water” Broth

This dish is based on the Italian inspired recipes by Marcella Hazan and Neil Perry for “fish in crazy water”. Having previously made and enjoyed Neil Perry’s recipe, I had found the original light broth reminiscent of the texture of the South Indian soup known as Rasam that often accompanies meals. This version is of my own creation and includes the distinct aniseed flavour of star anise and the fruity sweet-sour flavour of tamarind. You can also easily play around with the combination of herbs and spices to suit your palette. This dish is perfect to serve with blanched spinach for a light and healthy dinner.

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:
2 large snapper fillets with skin on
3 large, very ripe tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
3 red chillies
1/2 tspn sea salt
small handful coriander leaves
small handful mint leaves
1.5 tsp tamarind concentrate or 2 tspns tamarind juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 star anise
60ml olive oil
900ml water

Method
Place tomatoes in bowl of boiling water, then peel off skin, remove seeds and chop

 Soaking tomatoes in hot water makes it easier to peel the skin off
Soaking tomatoes in hot water makes it easier to peel the skin off

Finely chop coriander and mint (save half for garnish)
Finely slice garlic cloves

Sliced garlic, coriander and mint for crazy water
Sliced garlic, coriander and mint for crazy water

Deseed chillies and dice finely
Put all ingredients, except the fish fillets, into large heavy based saucepan and bring to a boil.

All the ingredients except the fish go into making the crazy water
All the ingredients except the fish go into making the crazy water

Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes with lid on
Remove lid, return mixture to a boil and reduce sauce to half again, but ensuring some of the light broth remains
Add snapper fillets skin side down for 2 minutes, simmering over medium heat
Carefully turn fillets over and cook for a further 5-8 minutes until fish is just cooked through
Serve with finely chopped and blanched spinach or bok choy

Snapper in Indian Crazy Water served with blanched spinach
Snapper in Indian Crazy Water served with blanched spinach