A slice of Costa Rica – Casado

With summer firmly on it’s way out and Autumn settling in, the chilly nights demand some great comfort food. I wanted to try something different so I choose a popular Costa Rican dish – Casado. Why? Well, it’s the ideal comfort food, easy to put together and tastes amazing! Best part is it’s very easy on the pocket and if you plate it well, it looks like a posh meal – no one would guess what went into making it!

Costa Rican Casado

                                                                                                             Costa Rican Casado

Casado literally means a ‘married man’ and it is said that the name probably originates from how the local men expected food to be served when they were eating outside so that it reminded them of familiar tastes of a home cooked meal. An authentic Casado which is served at ‘sodas’ or local cafes is accompanied by what is known as a Lizano sauce. The brand name Lizano is now generic and retails in N. America.  Since this sauce is yet to hit UK shores ( believe me I did a fair bit of looking around in shops that sell Mexican ingredients, Asian, Carribean and most of my local supermarkets) I finally decided to make my own ,which was a great decision – why ? Well scope to experiment and innovate for one, coupled with freedom to incorporate easy to procure, local ingredients – resulting in a deliciously moorish creation! A traditional root vegetables dish from Costa Rico called Picadillo is a popular side dish with rice and tortillas. You can safely say that the gravy sauce is a marriage of sorts between the Lizano sauce and the Picadillo. I have done a fair amount of customisation and the most interesting part of cooking Casado was creating the gravy sauce, combining it with root vegetables and serving it as a wholesome gravy side dish. Let’s get started with the sauce aka gravy as this will take the most time to cook of all the other sides.

Costa Rican Casado

                                                                                                                Costa Rican Casado

 

Recipe is good for 2 with generous helpings.

Root Vegetable Gravy Side

Prep & Cooking Time: 35 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium juicy tomato – finely chopped
  • 2 small red onions finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots chopped into tiny cubes
  • 3 small sweet fresh peppers finely chopped
  • A handful of cauliflower florets
  • A handful of very finely chopped sweet potato
  • 1 heaped tbsp of finely grated celeriac
  • A pinch of garlic puree
  • Half a dry red Kashmiri chilli
  • ½ tsp of thick tamarind puree
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
  •  1/2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • A handful of finely chopped coriander

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil and add the chopped onions, add the garlic puree and cumin powder and stir well.
  2. When the onion starts to reduce add the bay leaves, the chopped tomato and chopped sweet peppers, stir the the tomato & peppers around vigorously bit to get them to release their juices and reduce the flame to a minimum.
  3. Throw in the finely chopped carrot cubes, sweet potato, grated celeriac, tomato puree and add enough water to cover this mixture.
  4. Cook with lid on till the sweet potato and carrots begin to soften, then it’s time to toss in the cauliflower florets, season with the dry red chilli,tamarind,cracked black pepper, salt and sugar and give it a good stir.
  5. Let this cook on a low flame with lid for about 25 minutes.
  6. Keep opening the lid, stirring and adjusting the water if it becomes to run dry, we need a gravy like consistency.
  7. When it done, add some finely chopped coriander in the tamarind should give it a bit of tangy twist, while the dried Kashmiri chilli gives it colour and mild heat, the sweet pepper and tomato puree work their magic together and the gravy is delicious and wholesome what with so many veggies hidden inside!

Root Vegetable Gravy Sauce

Red Kidney bean side

Prep and Cooking Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 2 large tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil and sauté the chopped onions, add the garlic puree and stir well.
  2. After the onion has sautéed, add the tomato puree and stir then add the beans and mix well.
Red onions for Kidney Beans

                                                                             Red onions for Kidney Beans

  1. Add some water to the mixture and reduce the flame to a minimum, cook with a lid on but check often so that it does not burn or run dry.
  2. 4.Since the canned and ready to eat red kidney beans are preserved in salty water, check the taste before adding in any more salt, chuck in some dry red chilli flakes for flavour and set aside.
Red Kidney Bean side is done

                                                                                         Red Kidney Bean side is done

Boiled white rice

  • Cook 1 cup rice using exactly double the water and a pinch of salt

Fried Plantain

  • Peel and chop the plantain into large chunks and fry in hot oil in a kadhai or wok until they are a light brown. It’s easy for them to char so get them out as soon as the colour turns a golden shade of brown, allow to cool on a plate on a bit of kitchen roll to soak excess oil.

Plaintains peeled

  • Don’t fret if like me you can’t peel the plantain I simply use a knife and remove the thick green skin, even if that means that the plantain pieces are hexagonal or cubes now, well I never was too good at geometry 😉

Frying Plantains in Kadhai

Fish

  • Casado can be served with meat, fish or chicken. Chop one large fillet of fresh salmon and pan fry both sides till done in about 1 tbsp oil.

Salmon Pan Shallow Fry

Cheese Tortilla

  • Heat a large flour tortilla –shop bought on a pan and adds a generous helping of grated parmesan cheese on tortilla. Just as the tortilla heats up and the cheese shows sign of melting fold the tortilla in half and flip over and toast each side till you have a crispy yum cheesy tortilla, slice into neat triangles ready to be served.

Tortilla on pan with grated cheddar

Cabbage Salad

  • Chop a fresh cabbage fine to get one large handful of cabbage, add half a red onion and a small handful of finely chopped cucumber, squeeze half a lime, sprinkle some cracked black pepper, a small amount of fresh finely chopped coriander and toss all these together. Easy-peasy right?

Folded Tortilla

Serve the steaming hot rice with the salmon on the side, topped with some of the root vegetable gravy. Mop up the beans with the cheesy tortilla and munch on the sweet fried plantain with generous bites of the tangy cabbage salad in between mouthfuls of everything else.

Costa Rican Casado

                                                                                                                Costa Rican Casado

Whole Sea Bass steamed with a Rainbow side salad

A delicious and healthy steamed fish recipe perfect for stay in #FishFriday night dinner or a lovely brunch on a lazy afternoon. The accompanying salad is colourful and full of fresh veggies that’s why I choose to call it a Rainbow Salad.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sea bass scaled and gutted
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Garlic sea salt
  • Red Chilli powder

Whole Sea Bass

For the steamed veggies on the side

  • 2 small carrots per person
  • Handful of green peas person

For the Rainbow Side Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh pepper (capsicum)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 a courgette
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp Red wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive Oil

Beautiful whole Sea Bass seasoned

Method:

To steam the fish

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C 
  • Wash the fish and place on the foil.
  • Stuff the lemon wedges inside the fish along with the Chives, rosemary and thyme.
  • Sprinkle generously with sea salt, red chilli powder and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Wrap the fish in the foil parcel and cook in the oven until it has cooked through, should take about 20-25 minutes.
  • Steam the veggies in a steamer.

To make the Rainbow Salad:

  • Chop all the vegetables into tiny bite sized cubes.
  • Place chopped veggies in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil and add the red wine vinegar.
  • Season well with sea salt and add a generous sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Mix well

To Serve

  • Plate a portion of the fish and serve the steamed carrots and peas on the side.
  • Serve a generous helping of the crunchy veggies salad.

Whole steamed sea bass with a Rainbow salad

Here are some other fabulous recipes to try if you are cooking sea bass:

Knorr three peppercorn Baked fish and Knorr GIVEAWAY

After the masterclass with Master Chef Marco Pierre White, where he cooked us steak in Knorr Beef stock cube and served it with a creamy three peppercorn sauce – I was hooked onto the taste of the Knorr three peppercorn flavour pot. This mix of 3 peppercorns will add a depth of flavour to your dishes. Whether used in a straightforward steak sauce, or a luxury pork stroganoff, this little pot will instantly add a touch of indulgence to your meal.

Unilever has agreed to Giveaway TWO lucky winners a chance to WIN one of TWO goody bags PACKED to the brim with Knorr flavour pots and stock cubes .These stock pots have been created by Chef Cameron Healy who is part of a dedicated professional chefs based at Knorr, who work together to develop KNorr’s culinary creations , with good food, convenience and innovation as the main thought process behind these products.

2-IMG_9181 (Copy)

As you know by know I love seafood and I simply cannot resist buying fresh fish. Last week on my way home from work I saw fresh herring at supermarket and just had to bring home some for dinner. I wanted a very light quick and easy fish dish which I could have with a heavy creamy soup so I rustled up this easy baked fish. Since we were already going to consume a creamy soup I wanted to avoid using single cream to make any gravy sauce.

This baked fish recipe is a super quick and easy meal idea with very few ingredients and makes for a delicious meal. Served with a fresh leafy baby kale and cherry tomato salad it makes a refreshingly light choice. No oil is used in this dish and though the butter is 2 tbsp it is the only thing that you will add other than the flavour pot. Besides Herring are very high in the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, they are also a source of vitamin D.

A low – calorie meal for two ready in under 25 minutes – can it get any better? Think not!

I have used the Knorr three peppercorn flavour pot that was in my goody bag which all loggers received at the end of a day packed with masterclasses spent at the Unilever headquarter in the U.K at Leatherhead.

If you love cooking with the flavour of fresh herbs and spices, but prefer the convenience of dried , Knorr flavour pots allow you to create delicious meals infused with aromatic and fresh flavours in no time at all AND with the very same convenience that dried products offer.

Knorr three peppercorn Baked fish recipe

Serves : 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole herrings fresh – with the head and tail removed.
  • Smoked sea salt
  • 1 and half Knorr three peppercorn flavour pots
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Method:

  • Pre-Heat the oven to 180 °C. Keep the butter out so that it is not straight from the fridge
  • Wash the herring fish under running tap water. I asked the fishmonger to slit it through the middle and clean it from inside for me after removing the head and the tail.
  • Place the fish on a baking parchment in a baking tray and sprinkle liberally with Maldon smoked sea salt.

1-IMG_9326 (Copy)

  • Wrap the parchment to make a neat parcel.

4-IMG_9340 (Copy)

  • Bake the fish in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 °C.
  • Meanwhile heat a heavy based pan on a medium heat.
  • When the pan is at add 2 heaped tbsp of butter.
  • Add in the bay leaf and then finely chopped onion and finely chopped garlic with skins. Then add in the Knorr three peppercorn flavour pots and cook until the onion has gone soft.

2-IMG_9328 (Copy)

  • Once the fish has been baked , remove from the oven and allow for the steam to escape.

5-IMG_9342 (Copy)

  • When you can hold the fish in your hand without scalding remove the skin which should come of pretty easily and remove the bone , it comes straight off which is great, one clean sweep. Don’t worry if the fish falls apart , it will still taste amazing!
  • Plate each fish onto 2 plates.

7-IMG_9349 (Copy)

  • Place the onion onto the fish and serve with baby kale and chopped cherry tomatoes. If you wish sprinkle some sea salt on the salad leaves.

6-IMG_9346 (Copy)

WIN one of TWO goody bags PACKED to the brim with Knorr flavour pots and stock cubes

Each GOODY BAG from KNORR contains :

  • 2 x Mexican Flavour Pot
  • 2x Garden Herbs Flavour Pot
  • 2 x Paprika Flavour Pot
  • 2x Ginger and Lemongrass Flavour Pot
  • 2x Curry Flavour Pot
  • 2x Garlic Flavour Pot
  • 2x Mixed Chillies Flavour Pot
  • 2x Fish Stock Cube
  • 2x Pork Stock Cube
  • 2x Ham Stock Cube
  • 2 x Chicken Stock Pot
  • 2 x Beef Stock Pot
  • 2 x Veg Stock Pot

1-IMG_9180 (Copy)

How to enter the giveaway:

You too could WIN ONE of TWO of these GOODY BAGS from KNORR PACKED with exciting products from the flavour pots and stock sauces range, all you have to do is :

  1. Follow me on twitter – @manjirichitnis
  2. Like my Facebook page and leave your facebook name as part of you comment.
  3. Follow me on Instagram
  4. Tweet out the following –  with 1 of 2 GOODY BAGS with Flavour Pots & Stock Cubes,Baked fish recipe
  5. Leave a comment below telling me which is your favourite herb, your facebook name used to like my FB page, your instagram handle. I will find you on twitter via the hashtag so it’s not required for you to mention your twitter handle in the comments. Do not share your email id in the comments please.

Knorr_Flavour Pots_Mixed Chillies (Copy)

Please have a read through the Terms and Conditions below:

  • Winners will be picked using Random Number.
  • Deadline for entering this contest is 15th January’ 2015 midnight GMT.
  • Entry is open only to residents of the U.K except Scotland and Ireland.
  • All entrants must be 18 years old and above.
  • Two lucky winners will be chosen using random number generator.
  • The giveaway prize is as mentioned in the post. Neither Knorr or I am liable for any damage of hamper and / or contents in transit.
  • Please allow a minimum of 15 days for delivery of the prize, which may reach earlier or later. The goody bags will be sent directly  by Knorr.
  • The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available.
  • I retain the right to DISQUALIFY any entrant who do not complete all the 3 steps mentioned above.
  • The winner will be notified on 16th January’ 2015  on Twitter by me and here on my blog post. I shall tag the 2 winners on Twitter via their twitter id’s . If you are declared as the winner you agree to allow me and Knorr to contact you via email id  to arrange for the goody bag to be sent out to you.
  • If the TWO winners fail to respond by 18th January’ 2015   then other winners will be chosen.

*With thanks to Unilever and the Knorr PR team for arranging the fabulous gifts for the two goody bags . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. References Wiki.

While you are here why not have a look at the other giveaways on my blog and increase your chances of winnings cool freebies!?!

  • Win one beautiful Hotel Chocolat gift bag with fabulous cocoa cuisine products, to participate click here.
  • CLOSED Win a box of Chef Inspirations Saveurs Du Monde Box of 16 chocolates from Godiva, to participate click hereCLOSED.
  • CLOSED Win 5 delicious sauces from the WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Flavour Sauces, to participate click here – CLOSED.

1-Knorr flavour and stock images

CKP Surmai-सुरमई- Curry – Happy Fathers Day Baba

Leaving your home country and more importantly leaving behind your near and dear ones is never easy. I sorely miss a lot of things about my life back home and one of the things I miss most is lazy Sunday afternoons at my parents place. As any typical teenager if you do move out from home during college years you would be better off dealing with moving out your parents after you get married but I never lived away from my parents and it was only after I was married that hubster and me moved into our own place, which happened to be very close to my mum’s !So most Sunday afternoons we would make our way to mum’s and Baba would be helping aai cook our favourite Sunday meal of chicken curry and rice, or sometimes when he was in a mood for seafood he would go Supekar’s fish market and queue up for fresh surmai (Marathi Surmai /सुरमई, Indo-Pacific king mackerel or popularly spotted seer fish-Scomberomorus guttatus),pomfret and my fav fresh prawns ummm!

1-IMG_5744 (Copy)

1-IMG_5746 (Copy)

This recipe for Surmai/Kingfish /Mackerel curry is his favourite and I love how aai (means mother in Marathi my mother tongue)makes it so very delicious using a traditional hand me down recipe typical to the CKP community (Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu (CKP), is an ethno-religious community of South Asia). We call it Surmaiche Kalvan (सुर्माईचे कालवान) – Kalvan means curry in Marathi. If we were in Pune today I would most certainly have surprised Baba by cooking up a feast for him and aai. Baba this post is for you and for aai thank you for being the most parents any one could ever ask for , the best childhood ever and for believing is us ,for being the strong presence every girl wants her father to be. I love you more than words can say Baba and I miss you heaps and tons!

1-IMG_5745 (Copy)

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized surmai pieces
  • 3 large tbsp coriander – green chilli paste
  • 2 tsp  of ginger – garlic paper
  •  2  tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 4 cloves of garlic cloves with skin on
  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • A pinch of Asafoetida/Hing
  • 2 tbsp refined oil
  • Juice of 1/4th of a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander a tiny palmful washed and finely chopped for garnishing.

1-IMG_5785 (Copy)

Method:

  • Wash the Surmai/Kingfish /Mackerel steaks and marinate the with red chilli powder, turmeric,salt ,ginger- garlic paste,coriander- green chilli paste and set aside for at least 40 minutes.

1-IMG_5798 (Copy)

  • Heat oil in a saucepan,add a pinch of asafoetida and then add the crushed garlic cloves with their skins on and as they start to brown.
  • Add the marinated fish and toss around in the hot oil for 30 seconds
  • Add the finely grated fresh coconut, stir in enough water to ensure that the curry is the right consistency , not too thick  and cook on a low flame with lid for about under 5 minutes.
  • Fresh fish cooks very quickly , take care not to overdo it.
  • Now add salt as required bearing in mind that when the fish was marinated salt was used.
  • Squeeze the lime juice into the curry.
  • Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander/cilantro.
  • Serve with steaming hot rice and allow yourself to enjoy this simple yet classic fish curry.

2-IMG_5805 (Copy)

This is another fabulous recipe that originates from the western coast of India , the Konkan coastline , a beautiful coconut tree lined coastline abundantly blessed with fresh sea food and natural scenic beauty read beautiful beaches with soft sands and plenty of sunshine. A lot of people would also add tamarind paste to the curry but we do not. Tamarind trees are also found in abundance

If you are looking for fresh Kingfish in London the best place to find it is at supermarkets like H-Mart. The Kingfish that you will get here is from the North  Atlantic waters. You can also buy Wahoo steaks from Wing Yip but the taste is not as pronounced and the flesh is not as tender, besides wahoo steaks are bigger and need more seasoning and should be consumed on the same day to enjoy the full taste , I’d say they taste better in a curry than fried and if you do fry them do add a large squeeze of lime after you have fired them. Since the Kingfish belongs to the Mackerel family ,the mackerel will take all these marinade flavours beautifully and works well both fried and in a curry Konkani style.

My traditional CKP surmai kalvan/curry recipe works well with pomfret too.

1-IMG_5815 (Copy)

Low Cal Baked White Fish with a mint and spice dressing

Ladies this one is to be bookmarked and is perfect for any day when you want to treat  your taste buds and yet not load on the calories.

Serves:2  Prep Time:5 Minutes Marination time :20 minutes In the Oven: 15 – 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • Fry Lite or olive oil 4 tsp
  • 2 thick white fish fillets – I use Haddock
  • 2 tbsp mint and coriander dressing
  • 2 heaped tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp red chilli  powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • Handful of finely chopped spring onion
  • Handful of chives finely chopped
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to garnish
  • sea salt for garnish
  • 1/2 lemon juice for garnish

Method:

  • Wash the fillets and place on a large dish to apply the marinade.
  • Sprinkle the red chilli powder, turmeric,coriander,cumin,salt and along with the ginger garlic paste and mint and coriander dressing mix well and totally coat the fish.
  • Marinate the fish for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to seep in and develop.
  • In a baking tray use just 4 sprays of fry lite and spread evenly across the tray, add the chopped spring onion and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Place the marinated fish on this and sprinkle the finely chopped chives on the top.

IMG_6377 (Copy)

  • Pre heat the oven to 200°C and bake for 15- 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Serve with a side of salad leaves and cherry tomatoes and a soft crusty baguette.

IMG_6390 (Copy)

I know the photographs here look terrible but honestly by the time I got the fish ready on Sunday it was almost 3pm, had a lazy start to the day and by then the light was gone so even after cleaning up the image it is quite sorry looking and is no way doing justice to this awesome dish! I do hope that I can get better pictures next time!

I do hope you enjoy this recipe and share your thoughts if you make it! Cheers!

Just in the nick of time, I have entered this original recipe creation in the #Cookingwithherbs challenge by @KarenBurnsBooth at blog Lavendar and Lovage. The theme for January 2014 is citrusy and herbs , this fish definitely has it all and a citrusy bang!I wonder why I haven’t entered this challenge in the past , most of dishes use so many herbs especially lime ,oh well, here’s to a fresh start!

 
Cooking with Herbs

Tasty Fish Dish in £1 – ready in 10 minutes !

If someone told me I could make a fish main in £1 I would laugh aloud and make them a cup of tea to help them feel normal again.But trust me on this one you really can make a very delicious side dish and serve it with a spicy rice main for 2 adults for 2 main meals.Yes it’s possible to be thrifty and yet feed your family for less without compromising on taste.

When my friend S told me the easy-peasy recipe I just had to buy myself a pack from my new fav supermarket.This is probably the easiest recipe for a side dish ever.

Total prep time :Under 10 minutes Serves:2 adults as a side for 2 main meals

Ingredients:

  • Sprat Fish pack – contains about 20-25 fishes and costs around 90p to 95p
  • Turmeric powder 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder -1.5tsp
  • 2 small hot green chillies sliced in a slant
  • Salt to taste
  • a pinch of Asafoetida
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • 4 tsp Colmans Mustard
  • 1 tsp hot BBQ Mustard – don’t worry if you don’t have this just add half a teaspoon of paprika to 1 tsp of any mustard that you have lying around and mix half tsp of  BBQ sauce into this for a smoky flavour.

IMG_4734 with text

Recipe:

  • Wash the fish well under tap water and handle gently as it’s a small delicate creature and needs some fawning over but hey not much fuss I tell ya! But its all worth it because even my hubby apprehension that this fish has loads of tiny bones were all gone as he clicked his fingers after the meal 🙂
  • Heat a saucepan and  add 1sp oil ,add asafoetida and the turmeric powder and salt and then the washed Sprat fish
  • Gently sautee them for about 1 minute or until you see the skin start to come off , don’t over do it as they need to cook with the mustard in the next step.

Sprat has been sauteed

  • Remove the fish into a clean bowl and in the same sauce on a very low flame add another tsp oil, both the mustards pastes, choped green chillies ,red chilli powder and then the fish.
  • As it is a delicate fish it will cook quickly and as it does the big bone that runs lengthwise inside this tiny fish will be easy to remove and so you can get the head off to, I am not squeamish but the hubster is and refuses to eat the eyes but they are supposed to be packed with iron and fish itself is high on Omega 3 fatty acids, the good stuff your body needs.Mothers who breast feed and consume fish are said to help give the baby better eyesight which is due to the high content Omega 3 fatty acids.Not only that as this recipe contains turmeric it has a heap of health benefits especially the fact that it helps people struggling to cope with psoriasis. If anyone has seen that episode of The Food Hospital on Channel 4 where a young mother and her son struggled with psoriasis, one of the big changes that they did to their diet was add turmeric to even stuff like scrambled eggs. Please click here to read more about that particular episode.
  • A word here about the Le Range Mesurier BBQ Mustard, it’s one of the few things I purchased at the Cake & Bake Show 2013 apart from the sweet stuff.I also got a jar of zesty lime mayo from the same brand , they had a super offer of 4 jars at a great price!
  • I slant the green chillies slanted just because it looks posh 🙂
  • Ok so I manage to remove most of the big middle bone with the heads and the fish cooks very easily in under 3 minutes.
  • Add a small helping of very finely chopped coriander for garnish.
  • Serve hot with steaming hot rice or khichadi ,click here for a posh khichadi recipe from one of my older posts.
  • Do leave comments below and let me know what you thought of this recipe!

Sprat fish side is ready to serve!

 

I am entering this dish into a wonderful linky challenge called £1 or less recipe challenge started by Michelle Rice who blogs at Utterly Scrummy , with so much fresh and yummy fish made into a delicious dish and served with plain steamed rice its a thrifty budget dream dish full of flavour and ready without too much of labouring in the kitchen.Do link up and help spread the good cheer around in times of gloom when many families are struggling to makes ends meet and feeding families with healthy food on a shoestring budget is a very real challenge for many.

one pound or less logo

Pomfret Fish Curry – Flavours of Konkan and a Bengali Bhaja with spring onions and potatoes

When anyone asks me what I would like as my LAST meal,I always say I’d like some fried pomfret so naturally when I go Indian grocery shopping I always check for this fish. Though I must admit, nothing beats the flavours one gets from fresh fish.But well just have to make do with frozen fish as the one I love is a Pomfret local to waters of the Indian Ocean.

This is a relatively simple recipe and does not require much effort but the marination is key as it can really give depth of flavour which is what we need.

I had 3 of these beauties to cook and couldn’t resist getting them to pose for my camera all dressed with the dangerously delicious spices that I rubbed into the fillets.

Pomfret with all the spices that are used in the curry.

Serves: 4 (with rice and a vegetable dish included)

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized white pomfret
  • 2 large tbsp coriander and green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp  of ginger garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  •  1 tsp Turmeric
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic cloves with skin on
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • a pinch of Asafoetida/Hing to dust into the oil
  • 2 tbsp refined oil
  • Juice of 1/4th of a lime
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Ok it’s relatively easy making fillets after this fish has thawed thoroughly as it has very few bones, I like to remove the bit in the front with the eyes and the tail and also remove the fins then make fillets the size fit for a curry or fry.

  • Wash thoroughly and marinate with red chilli powder, turmeric,salt ,ginger- garlic paste,coriander- green chilli paste and set aside for at least 40 minutes.
  • After the marination is done,heat oil in a saucepan,add asafoetida just a tiny spritz and throw in the crushed garlic cloves with their skins on and as they start to brown add the marinated fish n toss it around for about half a minute.
  • Add enough water to cover the fish and cook on a low flame.
  • As the water begins to boil add in the finely grated fresh coconut and stir in well till the curry is nice and thick.
  • Simmer till the fish is cooked and squeeze the lime into it.
  • Serve with steaming hot rice and allow yourself to enjoy this simple yet classic fish curry, an everyday fare in the houses along the coast of Konkan and a great treat in ours.

These beautiful flowers are on stalks of fresh spring onion!! Unexpected, I know right?!! My ma (in-law) very patiently chopped these stalks, created this cute little spring onion floral display and the whole idea of this photograph with books we are currently reading is hers.

Spring Onion Bouquet

I was so excited to see them and had to buy myself two bunches and look for a Bengali Bhaja or bhaji (Marathi) sabji/sabzee (Hindi).Found a lovely food blog called Hamaree Rasoi and you can read the recipe here.

Peyajkoli Batata bhaja

Spring Onion and Potato Bhaji

Needless to say the meal was supremely satisfying and we all slept with gentle snoring now and then …tmi- oh yes totally 😉

Pomfret curry with steamed rice and pejaykoli bhaja

Prawn and Samphire in butter and chives – Sides in 5 minutes and lesser!

I first came upon this delightfull crunchy and salty coastal plant –Samphire -when I went into a tiny  shop which sells some amazing fresh sea food on Marylebone Street on my way to the Daunt Book store ( click on the hyperlink to read that blog post)

I found it a supermarket aisle and had to bring it home! I had a few prawns remaining and it was a great way to use them and create a side dish which is no fuss and really quick.

Simply saute the Samphire on a pan when it’s not very hot on a low flame in butter, then add another dollop and saute the prawns add a tiny bit of salt and sprinkle with Chives, Serve by squeezing some lime to add a zing, easy and quick isn’t it? Just what one needs to create good tasty meals without the fuss !

IMG_2829 (Copy)

IMG_2830 (Copy)

Love Salmon, Love Easy Meals!

This is probably my simplest ,fastest and yet very tasty AND healthy meal option. All you need is 2 slices of salmon some salad leaves and a hotch potch collection of any thing that can yumm up a salad! Few Minutes in the oven and hey Presto ! a healthy meal is ready to tuck in.

What I love about the after feel of this kind of a lunch or dinner is that it leaves me full and satiated and not feeling bloaty or heavy or drowsy for that matter!

So my ingredient list goes like this , but honestly for the salad just use any combination of leafy stuff and spices that you have in your fridge and cupboard and slam them together to make your own accompaniment!

  1. 2 slices of salmon fresh
  2. 2 thick slices of lime to wedge into the fish and a large slice to splash over the salad.
  3. one spoon olive oil
  4. Mixed italian herbs to season the fish – better if you have fresh herbs
  5. crushed black pepper and rock salt to sprinkle
  6. some capers for seasoning
  7. Salad leaves of your liking I use the mix leaves packets from the supermarket – rocket,spinach,lettuce mixed with some peppers and red onion sliced  for some colour, crunch and taste.
  8. Cherry Tomatoes
  9. A cheese slice – anything that you fancy
  10. Some onion flakes to dust over the salad

This meal takes lesser time to cook than it took me to write this blog post 🙂

Method:

  1. place the salom piece on a foil, lightly drizzle olive oil , wedge a slice of lime in between and sprinkle sea salt and crcaked black pepper and a generous sprinkle of italian herbs, mine came out of a bottle.
  2. Give the Salmon just enough time in the oven to cook, fish cooks fairly fast and these 2 slices took less that 7 minutes in a pre heated oven.
  3. Once done serve the salmon alongside a generous helping of salad leaves and juicy cherry tomatoes,toss a few capers , tear some cheese to season, give another drizzle of olive oil and a big squeeze  of lime ,finally add some crispy fried onion bits, finish off with sea salt.
  4. Dig in and feel full inside and light and skippity on a full stomach.

P.S: of the time you save when you choose this light, easy and quick dish , grab that novel you have been waiting to get done with enjoy a relaxed afternoon curled up on the sofa…I did…:)

The salmon is ready for the ovenThe salad is all done!Dig into crunchy wholesome goodness and juicy fish

Angel Hair Pasta and Prawns in Thai Red Curry and white wine sauce

I loved the name of this recipe by Chef Delia and hubby was also so excited about eating that we went to supermarket that she endorses and got us some really nice White Cooking wine and vermicelli pasta which I used as ”Angel Hair”. The other thing about this recipe that I found appealing was that it was easy to make, serves 2 as a main meal if prepared with suggested quantities and is a really satisfying dish to both cook and eat!

Why is it called Angel Hair ? Capellini Pasta literally means Angel Hair – because this pasta is the finest, thinnest… and when boiled it opens up and is so delicate , almost like how an Angel’s hair would be! Since it is a very light pasta it pairs well with sea food and is sold in nest like shapes that open up into silky strands on boiling …ummm perfect !

Ok my cheat sheet for this recipe , I used Thai red curry paste from a bottle but you can make your own too.As with other types of pasta, it is generally cooked until it is al dente, or firm to the teeth.

I love this angel hair pasta as it cooks really fast and the sauces are taken up so well by the strands.

Serves:2

Marination Time: 4 hours Preparation Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time:25 Minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 175gm Angel Hair Pasta.
  2. 2 packets of prawns.
  3. 2 tablespoons light olive oil.
  4. 4 large tablespoons Thai Red Curry Past.
  5. 4- 5 large garlic cloves skinned and very finely sliced.I love the skins so I kept them, they add a diferent twist and crackle that I cannot resist!,
  6. 2 large tomatoes skinned,de-seeded and chopped.This was the first time in my life I skinned tomatoes and must say it was fun 🙂
  7. Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  8. 200ml dry white wine
  9. For the garnish – 3 tablespoons fresh coriander finely chopped,fresh lime thinly sliced.

Method:

  1. Marinate the deveined prawns in the Thai Red Curry Paste and set aside for as long as you can before cooking the meal, as suggested by Delia for 4 hours in a fridge is ideal.
  2. To start with the sauce ,add oil in a pan and the chopped garlic, fry till i is a beautiful golden brown and the kitchen starts to give away a delicious aroma that tantalises your senses…ummm , then go in the pan the lime zest and juice , the tomatoes and wine  and on a high heat cook and eventually reduce  for about  8 minutes.
  3. Now add the prawns and mix well on a high heat, then reduce to a low flame and let this bubble again for 3- 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat once prawns are well cooked and cover and keep warm till the pasta is done as we have to be ready to serve this immediately when the pasta is ready , being thin it does not stay very easy to scoop out and handle once boiled.
  5. In a large vessel boil water with salt and cook the pasta , it is done in 3 minutes precisely.
  6. In bowls ready for serving spoon out the pasta ,whatever water comes with it , wil be soaked up by the pasta and the sauce.
  7. Serve the prawns in the Thai red curry paste and white wine sauce on top of the Angel Hair Pasta.
  8. In one word – Perfect !

Finito;)

Now for some pics- hover over each pic for a description, pics are followed by credits to the sites which inspired this blog post,Cheers Folks and do drop me a line if you liked this recipe and made it for your family 🙂

And last but not the least my sweetheart, my patient hubby for buying me the ingredients and for being my time keeper for this dish,I am eternally in love with you …..