A dear blogger pal very kindly passed on to me some of her home-made Indian spices which I have been keen to feature with some of my own local ingredients. Although I haven’t posted many Indian recipes before on this blog, South Asian cuisine is one of my favourites. I began to learn to cook during our two-year stint in Delhi, just before the craze for spicy Asian food hit North America in the 70s, and I have been at it ever since. It was in India where I really learned to appreciate local and fresh food, including home-ground spices which made everything from soup to nuts just so much tastier.
So when Sonal offered me some of her handiwork, I was thrilled. You can find her fabulous recipes on her blog, simplyvegetarian777 where you will discover some truly original recipes with a strong South Asian influence. Do drop by and check out her fabulous fare.
I met Sonal through The Novice Gardener’s weekly event, Fiesta Friday, so it is only fitting that I share these recipes with this week’s crowd. Our co-hosts this week are Effie @ Food and Daydreaming and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook who will be working hard to keep the party lively.
The spices Sonal sent me were a tandoori masala, a curry and Kasuri Methi, or dried fenugreek. This latter I intended to use as a garnish and then unfortunately forgot, but I did taste it and it would have made a wonderful accent for the two dishes I did make.
For the tandoori spice mix I decided to make a fish dish using local wild pickerel, but you could use any firm fish.
1 lb pickerel filet, skinned and cut into serving portions
1 Tbsp tandoori masala
1 Tbsp sumac
1 Tbsp flour, rice, chickpea or jerusalem artichoke
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all the ingredients except the fish in a bowl to make a paste. Coat the fish pieces with the paste and place them on a grilling pan in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Turn the pieces over and continue to cook for another five minutes or so, depending on the thickness, until the fish is cooked through.
I managed to achieve a nice red-coloured paste thanks in part to the addition of sumac which also goes well with this mixture taste-wise.
To accompany this fish I wanted to make a really green curry with ingredients all from my garden. The scapes, garlic, mustard seed and green chili are left over from last year’s crop, but the young dandelion leaves, lily shoots, and some nettles were all picked just moments before cooking.
Curried Spring Vegetables
oil for frying
1 tsp mustard seed
1 green chili, seeded and chopped finely
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp curry powder
3 packed cups of mixed greens, e.g. lily shoots, scapes, dandelion greens and nettles
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, lower the heat to medium and add the chili and mustard. Cook for 1 minute and then add the curry powder. Cook for another two minutes, stirring continuously. Add the washed, but not dried greens starting with the sturdier ones like scapes and shoots. When they start to turn a brighter green add the dandelion and nettles, cover and cook until they are just wilted. Remove from the heat and drizzle with lemon juice.