Weekend went by in such a whiz that i still haven't recovered from it. It was a Bank Holiday and hence 3 day weekend. Had some college friends from up north staying with us and on Sun, hadRo's college mates over for a BBQ session which was washed out and so had to have it inside. In between late nights, partying, drinking and chatting I had to squeeze in the BBQ cooking and the odd lunch, dinner and snacks we were grabbing at home. Fell sick...bad cold, cough, throat pain and fever after they all left and its just today that i have gotten out of bed. Ro has been working from home since Friday and had everything under control..including taking care and fussing over the 'sick' me. I am completely taking advantage of it staying in bed and ordering things around. I think i am done with cooking. An overdose of it always is a buzz kill for me. All i want to do is not do anything which i have managed to. Ro has meetings all day today and has a drinks and dinner session after work which means no cooking or doing anything today also. Friday, i can make do with some leftovers and weekend, I'm hoping Ro would still be his enthusiastic best and spare me. So till I get back on my feet, I am gonna post stuff that was in my drafts and when that's over, I'll just wait till i get my mojo back :)
As i have mentioned quite a few times about how 'not' a fan i am of seafood, this dish totally caught me off guard and i loved every bit if it. It was the first time i tried out something like this and i did so only because I vaguely promised Ro some time back i would give it a shot after seeing Gordon Ramsay on a Houseboat in Kumarakom where a Kottayam kochamma (aunty) was teaching him how to do the authentic meen pollicha (baked fish in banana leaves) technique. Ro is from Kottayam and he couldn't stop bragging about it and i as usual with my contradicted views said, 'oh no big deal, that doesn't even look that great..its such an over rated thing.' ..karimeen (pearl spot) to be precise...I know, I know! A whole lot of you would love to disagree, but what to do, like Ro says I'm a disgrace to the mallu's ;)
Although mine is not the authentic preparation and didn't look anything like what GR had on the houseboat, it sure was delicious (if i may say so myself). Thanks to Collaborative Curry for providing me with a base recipe and procedure. Here you go:
White fish fillets- 2 x 200gms (Cod, Snapper, Halibut, Monkfish etc. We used River Cobbler)
Kashmiri Chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
Yoghurt- 1 tsp
Lime juice- 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Onions- 1 large, roughly chopped
Tomato -1 large, thinly sliced
Ginger- 1 tbsp
Garlic- 1 tbsp
Fenugreek powder- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
Kokum- 2 small pieces soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
Vinegar- 1 tsp
Coconut milk- 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- a few sprigs
Salt- to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp (I used coconut oil)
Wash and clean the fish fillets and marinate with all the ingredients in the 'to marinate' section. Keep aside for about 15 to 20 minutes.
In a frying pan, heat some oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the curry leaves and onions and sauté on low heat, till transparent.
Add the chopped ginger and garlic and sauté for a few more minutes to get the raw smell off.
Add the turmeric, pepper and fenugreek powder and mix well till the oil starts separating. At this point add the tomatoes and the vinegar and saute further, till the tomatoes are well mashed and the oil separates.
In goes the kokum and the water. Increase the heat to high and when the gravy starts to simmer, and its somewhat thick in consistency, reduce the heat and add the coconut milk. Check for salt, add more if required. Mix well, take it off the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Place the same frying pan back on fire. Increase the heat to high and if there is not enough oil lining the pan, pour some more oil. Slide in the fish fillets one by one and sear on both sides (1 minute each side max.) flipping carefully.
Pre-heat oven to 175C
Place the kitchen foil in the baking tray with enough left over to wrap it up. Add half of the gravy at the bottom, place the fish fillets on top and cover with the rest of the gravy. Cover it with the foil, fold the edges so it resembles a parcel and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve hot with rice or on its own. We picked up a wine case from Laithwaites Wines with a mix of Spanish, French, Australian and South African wines and now we are in the process of learning how to pair it, what goes with what etc. We marvelled this spicy fish with a glass of Pinot Noir and it was brilliant with the rich flavours the fish brought out.
Notes: This was extremely spicy and so do reduce the chilli powder, pepper powder measurements accordingly.
If you bake it wrapped in a banana leaf, this would taste even better, I'm told.
Make sure you don't over cook the fish, and then it starts falling apart
The Yummy Team passed on some beautiful awards..thanks girls.