Tuesday, January 31, 2006

easy roasted fish

Last Saturday we had an eclectic group of friends for lunch. Not quite sure about their 'Indian-spice tolerance', I decided to play safe. This baked fish surprisingly, was much praised, and since it is such an easy thing am holding on to this recipe forever! I regret not taking a photo of the fish once it was cooked, well, there’s always a next time.

We had bought a three pound flounder from the local Korean sea-food store, ‘verrryy tasty’ the Korean lady had said, and she was right.

One whole fish, cleaned, patted dry
Mint chutney : 1 cup
Lime juice : ½ cup
Lime zest : ½ tsp
Ginger paste : 2 tsp
Pepper : a pinch
Oil : 2 table spoons

Mix chutney, lime juice, zest of lime, ginger paste, pepper, and salt . Smear this paste all over the fish, wrap it tightly in foil and leave it in the fridge overnight. Take out the fish from the fridge half an hour before baking, brush both the sides with oil. Pre-heat the oven, and bake the fish wrapped in foil for 40 minutes at 375 F. After 40 minutes, remove the fish from the oven, unwrap the foil, and put it back on broil for 10 minutes, or until it turns into that ' I can dig into that now' brown.
Serve with some mint chutney and slices of lime.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Vellappam & Fish Molly

Rice and coconut used to be the major crops of Kerala. Now, Gold is the most cultivated crop in kerala. Laced with the Arabian Sea, the land is blessed with a variety of seafood, so naturally rice and fish have been engraved into a Malayali’s food consciousness. We could eat rice for every meal, and still love it. Of course, there are a 1001 and more ways rice is used in Kerala cuisine. Kerala is also the land of coconut trees, and the sweetness of freshly scraped coconut makes its way into almost all our dishes, be it non-vegetarian, vegetarian, snack, dessert. Malayalis living in far-off places are known to carry plucked coconuts with their luggage.

Vellappam and Fish Molly is my all time favourite break fast. So when I read about Meenakshi's From my Rasoi-Breakfast event I thought it was one more reason to take the extra effort and make a 'proper breakfast'. Traditionally, Vellappams are made in heavy kadais used only for this purpose. Batter is poured into the kadai which is then swirled so that the batter coats the side.The appams made in such kadais have a unique look, like tiny bowls with a soft middle and thin, crisp edges. Since, my stove is electric making vellappams in a kadai has never worked out; by the time the edges turn crisp the middle portion would have dried out. Not to be beaten by this , my ever-experimenting life partner tried out making flat pancake like appams, and Alhamdulillah! we now have our soft-melt-in-your-mouth vellappams.i do miss the crisp edges though :)

Fish molly

I have always wondered what the ‘Molly” part of this curry signifies, perhaps the name of the genius who invented it? The name immediately brings to my mind ‘Boban and Molly’ the popular cartoon series of kerala.

Ingredients :
Fish (Pomphret, King fish, Salmon,, whiting, Tilapia , all have given me good results) : 2 lbs
Onion : a few slices
Coconut milk : 1 cup
Tomatoes : 2 medium sized, sliced
Tamarind paste /lime juice : 1 tsp
Green chillies : 5 , sliced
Curry leaves : 5/6
Cilantro : 3 tsp , chopped
Ginger paste : ½ tsp
Fenugreek : ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder : ¼ tsp
Water : ½ cup
Oil : 1 tsp

Heat the oil in a pan, add fenugreek and ginger and cook for a minute. Add sliced onions, green chilies, turmeric powder and curry leaves, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add sliced tomatoes, tamarind paste , water, and let boil . Now add the fish pieces, cover and cook for 10 -15 minutes until the fish is cooked . Pour in the coconut milk, and simmer for 2 minutes, garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.


Raw rice : 2 cups
Coconut milk : 1 cup
Cooked rice : ¾ cup
Water : 1 cup
Sugar : 1 tsp
Instant yeast : ¼ tsp
Dessicated coconut : 1 table spoon
Salt to taste

Soak the raw rice for about 5 hours. Drain, and grind this along with cooked rice, dessicated coconut, coconut milk and water. Pour into a large bowl (the batter is going to rise, so if you do not enjoy seeing spilt over batter the first thing as you enter kitchen make sure the bowl is large enough). Stir in yeast and sugar and let rise in a warm place overnight.

Just before cooking, add a pinch of salt if you prefer. Pour a ladle full of batter into a hot non-stick pan , cover and cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Lift out, and enjoy!

Etched on my culinary memory are

The first twenty two years of my life I could cook , or rather I was let to cook only boiled eggs, bull's eye, omlettes and Maggi noodles. Then I boarded an airplane and landed half a world away from my mother's cooking. Thus started my culinary riots. My partiality for eggs, however, didn't ebb away. So what better way to start, than with the very first things I learnt to burn? Two eggs waiting to be yoked into a single omlette, isn't there a poetic beauty in it ?

First step

In the name of the Creator to whom I will return one day
A food journal to sketch down my culinary riots.