Sesame Prawns

Life is suddenly a little more pre-occupied and it shows in my increasingly longer gaps between the posts. I got these beautiful prawns.

Rubbed paprika, turmeric, salt and sesame oil on them. Let them marinate for about 10-15 minutes.

Heated a little sesame oil in a pan. Added the prawns and once they were half cooked, sprinkled in sesame seeds and black cumin seeds.

Mixed in a little lemon juice to help deglaze the pan and mix in the spices.


Chicken with Kaffir Lime

Kaffir Lime has a strong and very distinct flavor. The leaves are also a little thick. You can either cook with them whole and remove before serving or cut them very thin and add into the marinade. I used the latter approach.

Prepared a marinade with thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves, thin strips of ginger, vinegar, garam masala, paprika, turmeric and salt. Checked the balance and then added chicken pieces to it. Let this sit for about 30-40 minutes.

Heated some ghee and tossed in the chicken along with the marinade. Let it sizzle up and then cooked covered for about 15 minutes.

Switched over to high heat and let the collected moisture evaporate.


Steamed Fish

There are many ways to steam fish. I do it with banana leaves, idiyappam trays and a pressure cooker.

A fillet of Seer fish. To fit it, I cut into two halves.

Made a paste of cumin, coriander, garlic, green chilies and salt.

Rubbed it on the fish and wrapped it in the banana leaf. If you warm the leaf on an open flame for a few seconds it becomes soft and much easier to shape.

Pressure cooker with gasket but no weight on it. Ten mins. Let it cool a little before removing from the leaf.


Easiest Chicken Ever

This is beyond easy. It takes more skill to clean the chicken than making this simple dish.

If you are buying chicken from an online store, then get chicken with skin, cut into biryani size pieces.

Take a bowl and combine together salt, paprika powder, garlic powder. If you are comfortable with the amount of seasoning , simply put these powders on top of the chicken. Drizzle some olive oil. Drop in black pepper corns, chilly flakes…whatever you want except the cat.

In a glass dish, spread out thick slices of onions. Put chicken on top of it. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Put it into a preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil at the half hour mark and then let it continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces and return the dish with the onions and collected liquids into the oven. Now set the temp to the max that your oven can handle. Only top heat and broil this for about 4 minutes or so. This will reduce the liquids and char the onions a bit.


Crispy Fried Fish

Fish is yum. Crispy fried fish is super yum.

They trick is to have it dry when it gets into hot oil. Cornflour is the easiest way to do that.

Pat the fish dry. Marinate it in chilly powder and salt for about 10 – 15 minutes. Pat into corn flour and using very dry hands, spread the corn flour all over the fish. Fry in medium heat. If the fish is sticking to the pan, just give it an extra minute or two. Once its crisped up, it will let go of the pan on its own.

I used the same method for both sardines and black pomfret. Both turned out to be super yum.


Garlicky Pomfret Fish Fry

I find people who don’t like fish as being very fishy…in other words, my cat does not like them.

Take a whole garlic. Remove all the pods. Pulse them in a mixie and you have this wet paste that smells awesome. But you can’t really fry anything in it.

So we start a balancing act. Add some spices like chilly powder and turmeric. Season with salt. Add rice flour. Let the rice flour soak in the moisture to form a paste. Add oil to this. Mix into a paste that will adhere to the fish.

Coat the fish and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Heat oil in a pan. Pan fry the fish. If the fish sticks to the pan, be gentle with it. When cooked the fish will usually release the pan on its own.

This method of frying the fish will not result in a lot of splatter. You kitchen will not be a mess and your hands are also safe.


Water Chestnut (Singada) Savory Pancakes

Water Chestnut Flour

I love playing with different flours and this Singada or Water Chestnut Flour is one of the easiest to work with. Its also a very healthy flour and although gluten free, it has a very sticky nature that makes it easy to spread.

The base for this is incredibly simple. Add a mild acid like curd with a little cooking soda. Dilute with water till its the right spreadable consistency.

But we need some spices to kick it up a few notches. What I do is get to my spice rack, choose whatever catches my eyes. For today that was pepper, cumin, fennel, caraway, turmeric and some others that I can’t remember now. Grind them up in a mortar-pestle. Add it to the base.

Leave it for a couple of minutes. Then get a nice cast iron tawa to good heat. Make your dose or roti or pancake.

Cook on medium heat to avoid burning it up.

I spread out some fresh basil, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.


Tilapia Sandwiches

Tilapia is a very healthy and easily available fish. I don’t like its skin and hence prefer to get it filleted. This boneless pieces are just the perfect option for making Sandwiches, Shawarma and Salads.

  • Tilapia, boneless and skinless.
  • Cumin Powder.
  • Coriander Powder.
  • Paprika Powder.
  • Turmeric Powder.
  • Salt.

Combine the powders and taste it to adjust the salt and spice. Coat the fish with this “spice mix” and marinate it for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Get get the fish out just 10 minutes before you plan to cook it.

Pan fry on medium heat in any neutral oil. Take care to not use very high heat. We want the spice rub to lightly brown and not burn while the fish is getting cooked. If in doubt, simply break open one of the pieces to see if its cooked thru.

Serve with a dash of lime and some raw onions, tomatoes etc on a flat bread.


Salmon with Butter and Garlic

A fillet of Salmon goes a long way in taste and flavor. I was quite lucky to find a couple of beautiful slices at a local supermarket. Each slice weighed exactly 250 grams. I split each such piece into 4 portions. This is usually more than enough for my family of 4.

Salmon has its own subtle flavor. Its best to add very few ingredients and maintain its simplicity. I used the mild Himalayan garlic but regular garlic will also work. Crushed pepper, butter and some salt were the only other ingredients.

Got a non stick pan to medium heat. It should be hot enough for the fish to sizzle but not more than that. Keep the fish on the pan and watch its color start changing. When more than 1/2 the color has turned to white, add the butter, garlic, coriander and pepper powder. Slowly swirl the pan and let it coat the fish on all sides. This will sort of lubricate the bottom of the fish and let it get free from the pan. Flip it over. Cook till the fish is done.

A fatty fish like salmon will taste good even if its a tad overcooked. So don’t worry too much about it. Use your learning for the next time you cook this amazing fish on the color, texture changes it has.