Spice Ninja's Blog

Healthy Indian fusion food made easy.

Seafood Stew April 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — fortheloveofpie @ 2:44 pm
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I had the boy’s parents over for lunch today. Lovely people, but not necessarily the biggest lovers of spice/heat in food. Plus they were about to have a long drive back to Kingston (Ontario, not Jamaica), so didn’t want to make them something too heavy. Also, I wanted to use them as guinea pigs for this seafood stew – a version of which I had at a lovely Italian restaurant in my neighbourhood. So here goes:

Seafood stew (I stole this picture from the internets until I upload one myself)

Ingredients

  1. 1/2-1 lb raw shrimp, calamari and the fish (skinless/ boneless is best) of your choice. **If you can, get the bones/ head of the fish from your fishmonger too – you can throw ’em in to the stew as it’s cooking for a nice fish stock alternative, and take ’em out before you add the ‘fer real seafood for serving. Also, whitefish like grouper, etc are best, not something like catfish or salmon.
  2. 1 lb fresh, cleaned mussels (optional)
  3. 1 large onion (I use red) – finely chopped
  4. 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 3-4 stalks celery – finely chopped
  6. 6-7 cloves of garlic (you heard me) – finely diced/minced
  7. 7-8 medium, ripe tomatoes (or the canned equivalent)
  8. 900 ml (approx) low-sodium chicken stock (or half chicken/half seafood stock)
  9. 1/3 cup dry white wine
  10. 1 tbsp tomato puree
  11. Red chilli flakes to taste
  12. Pinch of saffron (optional)
  13. 2 bay leaves
  14. 1/2 tsp fennel seeds OR half a fresh fennel bulb, finely chopped
  15. 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (on the stalk)
  16. 1/4 tsp cumin
  17. Salt/ Pepper to taste
  18. Pinch of sugar (if needed)
  19. Rough chopped cilantro – half handful
  20. Rough chopped basil – half handful
  21. Slurry of 1 tsp all purpose flour and 2-3 tsp water (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a nice, big stew pot. Add the onions, celery, fennel and half the garlic and reduce the heat to about medium. Let it cook down, sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt to help dehydrate them faster if you want.
  2. When the mixture is browning nicely and just starting to stick to the bottom, add the white wine, and let it deglaze the base of the pot.
  3. Add the tomatoes, puree, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli flakes, sugar, bay leaves and sprigs of thyme. Increase the heat for a few minutes, let the tomatoes start to break down.
  4. When the tomatoes have softened, add the stock (and the fish heads/ bones if you have ’em).
  5. Let everything cook on a low simmer – uncovered – till the flavours taste nice and round. Adjust salt, sweetness, heat, etc., at this point. Don’t worry if you’ve oversalted, remember the seafood still has to go in. Simmer at least 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it’s too thin/ watery, you can add the flour slurry at this point.
  6. Just before you’re about to serve, bring the stew back up to the boil, remove the fish heads, etc if you’ve left ’em in, remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks (if any). Add in the saffron and seafood, let everything cook for a few (ie: 5-6 ) minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR SEAFOOD OR GOD WILL KILL A PUPPY.
  7. Turn off the heat, throw in the cilantro and basil, stir in and serve with some crusty bread.

Serves 6

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Fish and Eggplant Curry June 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — fortheloveofpie @ 11:49 pm
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Chinatown fish markets are brilliant. They are not places where you can be a sissy about touching fish or assorted slimy things. Stand shoulder to shoulder (or maybe shoulder to head) with little old ladies as they stick their hands into tubs full of live eels as you try not to faint. Then, you pull up your socks and grab a steak or assorted viscera, whatever strikes your fancy and you’re on your way.

Today I tried the fresh grouper. The Grouper fish, a lovely, delicate whitefish has a few bones, but they’re easy enough to deal with. It’s easy enough to cook – you can do a pretty fantastic seared grouper with a basic lemon zest/thyme/salt/pepper dressing and it looks impressive (provided you care enough to crisp up the skin).

Since mom is a-visiting and she’s been kind enough to feed mah belleh during the week, it’s only fair that I <strike>experiment on</strike> cook for her on the weekends. Figured I’d do a simple little coconut fish curry and on a whim, threw in some Japenese eggplant. Here’s how.

Ingredients:

  1. About 1 lb of grouper (or any other) fish – cut into 2 inch chunks
  2. Half a can of regular coconut milk (the ‘lite’ stuff is for sissies)
  3. About half a good-sized Japanese eggplant – sliced evenly
  4. One medium sized onion sliced thin (I like vidalias, but to each their own)
  5. 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/2 tsp ginger/garlic paste (or 1/4 tsp of each, chopped fine)
  7. 4-5 curry leaves (I like to chiffonade ’em, but you can chuck them in whole too. Eat them though, they’re chock full of good vitaminey things)

Spices:

  1. Salt to taste
  2. 1/4 tsp Red chilli powder (depending on how hot you like it – this dish doesn’t need to burn a hole in your esophagus though)
  3. 1/4 tsp Cumin powder
  4. 1/5 tsp Mustard seeds
  5. 1/4 tsp Tumeric powder
  6. 1/4 tsp Coriander powder
  7. A smidgen of Garam Masala – optional

Method:

  • Sputter the mustard seeds in the heated olive oil.
  • Soften the onions with the ginger/garlic paste – until the onions start to get some color.
  • Add the coconut milk, all the spices and the curry leaves. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the eggplant slices, simmer another 5-7 minutes or until they’re soft. You can half-cover the pot for this step – it’ll speed up the softening. Good idea for when you have a hungry mother poking you in the small of your back.
  • Add the fish chunks, cook for 5-7 minutes, until JUST cooked. DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR FISH YOU BUMS.
  • Serve up with steamed Basmati rice.
Quick enough to satisfy hungry, impatient mothers.

Quick enough to satisfy hungry, impatient mothers.