Pan Fried Tilapia / Jalebi Fish

PAN FRIED WHOLE TILAPIA

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While I have been taking some days off being neck deep in my current project, the winters have slipped in cautiously. Cautiously yes, since the farm fires cloud this season so bad in North India that every breath makes you feel it very evidently. Gone are the fears of the industrial pollution, it is the farm pollution which is beating us flat now.

Winters also brings the best fishes to the pools, rivers and the seas and hence auto speeds up my dishing out fish based delicacies. And though however tied up I may be to write up and share, I always squeeze time to cook up some great treats. Here’s sharing one that I managed to make for myself at midnight while writing up a case study. It made the stressful night so much more enjoyable 🙂 ! Read on, this meaty tilapia recipe will surely tickle your taste buds !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 1 fish to delight 2.
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes
  • Serving size : Half platefuls would be a great treat.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Tilapia fish, cleaned, scaled and slit diagonally 500 grams approx. : Tilapia is a very popular fish in Asia and Africa though is also common near the Caribbeans. It’s not the most tasty of fishes but is chunky, pretty looking decently good for immunity. Remember that unlike most expectations, this fish is not rich in omega 3 and is a low fat fish.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the sea salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon or from 1 average sized lemon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Aniseed, 1 & 1/2 teaspoon : Anise is a sweet and fragrant spice very similar to the essence of cinnamon. It has wonderful antiseptic property and help in clearing the respiratory track.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Garlic, 6 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Black peppercorns, 8 : Good proportion of salt and pepper are great anti oxidants too.
  • Ginger, 1 inch : Unmistakably earthy, the ginger adds the heat quotient in the dish. The gingerol in ginger is a strong anti nausea and anti inflammatory agent.
  • Onion, chopped, 1/4th cup :  As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Parsley, 5 to 6 twigs : I grow moss green, long leafed, Italian varieties of parsley till late April. It is mildly bitter but an amazing garnish. It cures bad breath, diabetes and boosts our immunity. One can much the sweeter varieties fresh & raw from a harvest.
  • Paprika, 1/3rd teaspoon : Light and bitter with good amount of vitamin e and a strong antioxidant.
  • Oil, light vegetable or coconut oil would be good.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the fish and pat dry. Now season it with salt, pepper, turmeric and lemon juice and set aside. Salt and turmeric takes away the foul smell of seafood.
  • Dry grind the whole spices i.e. aniseed, pepper, paprika, salt, cumin. 
  • Separately wet grind ginger, garlic, lemon juice and onion and make a paste mixing the dry ground spices to it.
  • Marinade the fish with this paste for 30 minutes. 
  • Heat a non stick pan not less than 10″ in diameter. Pan fry the fish well for 15 minutes on medium heat till well done. A well done fish would be soft and separate easily near the bones.
  • Garnish with parsley chopped and serve steaming hot.

Storage : Surely, a 500 grams fish is enjoyable in one sitting only.

Missing Something ? : Dress it up with a lemon wedge and enjoy with a homemade pesto dip  or a nice sweet homemade cherry tomato ketchup !!

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Surmai / Kingfish in Tangy Masala

Kingfish in Tangy Masala / Surmai South meets West fillet

Nearing the end of FIFA World Cup 2018 and welcoming the monsoons in Delhi, it’s a wash time literally. The plants get washed, the city gets washed, the toxicity in the sir gets washed and most so, the heat gets washed. So much washing pulls me to my favorite pass time, experimenting with seafood.

Seafood is so easily gobbled since it’s light, nutritious, filling and amazingly tasty. I have tried here to blend the two essences of southern and western coastal Indian cuisines so as not to make a mess of each, rather to create a nice new flavor. Am sure you can chip in with your variations and suggestions. Read on !! 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 4
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes
  • Serving Size : 2 to 3 pieces each

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Kingfish fillet, 2 – further cut into 10 pieces total. Will be around 500 gms  : Kingfish is popularly known in Indian markets as Surmai. This is a pinkish fish with firm texture and high fat content. Its popular and easy for kids to eat since it has very less bones. It is also caled king mackerel and is found in South & Central India. High in protiens,this would be slightly expensive than the regular carp in the market.
  • Coriander seeds, 2 teaspoon, roasted : With a warm, nutty and orange essence the coriander seeds are great for eyes, digestion, joints, skin and abdomen. 
  • Curry leaves, 10, broken : There isn’t a household in India which does not have a curry leaves plant. They have high amount of calcium, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin E, B, C and A hence helping heart, hair, skin and fighting infections. Here I add them for their extreme spicy aroma.
  • Turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the dish. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory.
  • Tamarind, 3 teaspoon : Tamarind fights cancer and helps in digestion. It is a good source of Vitamin C and anti oxidants. It brings the basic sour and tangy flavor to the gravy of the dish.
  • Coconut oil, sufficient for pan frying, should be around 3 tablespoons in a 10 inch pan : Keep the pan frying with cocnut oil at a low to medium heat only, else it evaporates quickly. It does not leave any flavor or color on the dish and is great for cholesterol control.
  • Garlic cloves, 10 – 12 : Pungent, spicy and sweet flavor is accompanied with benefits of combating cold and reducing blood pressure. Clearly my pungent king 🙂
  • Green chilies, 2 long ones : The pinching tougue biter, the green chilies are great for skin, hair and eyes due to their high Vitamin C & E content. I grow at least 3 varieties in my garden much to the kitchen’s delight.
  • Ginger 2 teaspoons : Ginger is consumed by us dried, fresh and chopped, ground dried or as a paste. It can be stored for very long and is extremely easy to grow in your garden It relieves nausea and is a pain killer. It has a warn, sweet and woody.
  • Onion/Leek greens, 1 cup chopped : I grow leek in my garden. It grows super easily in any garden and requires minimum taking care. They are milder and more flavored than an onion. It is also very healthy for blood vessels, bones, heart, digestion, vision etc. I am always inclined to use leek for the sweetness instead of red onions and also the leaves of these leeks. 
  • Coriander, for garnish : The reasons for garnishing with coriander would be so as to compliment the coriander seeds ground and added in the marinate for the dish.
  • Salt to taste : 😀  Use sea salt to make the flavor more authentic.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Coarsely grind the ginger, garlic, chilies and coriander seeds in a mortar and a pestle. Be coarse for a grounded feel.
  • Add salt, turmeric and tamarind to it and mix well.
  • Coat the fillet pieces with the spice paste and keep aside for 10 minutes, while you do the next steps. It will be great if you poke the fish with a fork lightly but densely. This would take the flavor deep inside but not enough to disintegrate the fillet.
  • Now heat the coconut oil in a non stick pan.
  • To this add the onion or leek greens and saute well for 2 minutes on medium flame.
  • Add curry leaves and saute further for 2 minutes.
  • Now place the fillet pieces in the pan gently and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 cup water and cook well for 8 minutes till the water dries off completely.
  • Take off flame, garnish with coriander and serve.

Storage : Make small portions, they are an easy cook. I don’t suggest refrigerating this.

Missing Something ? : You can skip garnishing and may replace regular salt with some coarse sea salt for more authentic essence.