Spicy Tamarind Tava Fish

What do you do when you have some beautiful fillets of Basa at home? You hurry up and cook something delicious with them! Before I get to the recipe, I want to say this one can be made with ANY good white fish. Basa is a great cheap option, but pomfret or even kingfish would have to be my preferences. Of course go ahead and use cod or halibut, though I would avoid Hoki because it does have a very overpowering smell and flavour.

Now this recipe is definitely one from India, and it is definitely amazing. This style of fish is one I’ve eaten at an aunt’s house who hails from a different community, though within the same language group. I know – India is a little complicated in that sense. Okay a lot complicated *sigh*. Point is, fish is not something I grew p with, and this particular style of cooking fish is not something you would see in my specific community. It is, however, so delicious… it’s ridiculous.

wp-1489489218243.jpg

 

This recipe use a lot of tamarind pulp. You can usually find a bottle of this in th e Asian food aisle of your local supermarket, or head over to an Asian/Indian grocery store. Something a little off the original recipes is my addition of ginger, only a little, to brighten up the flavour. Now ginger is something I tend to add to a lot of my recipes because of the overall health benefits that come with it – trust me a little bit of it in your diet will go a long long way. Back to the tamarind – if you are able to find tamarind in block form then you can soak the same amount in some warm water for a couple of hours before removing the pulp from the mixture and using that. It does take longer, but of course fresh will always be better.

 

Let’s also talk about the marination. There really isn’t much to it apart from the fact that you want to give the fish at least 30 minutes to soak up in all the wonderful flavours. This tenderises the fish, and also just laces everything with the marination, which I just love. The maximum time to marinade the fillets would be 2 hours for uncut fillets like I used, but 30 minutes if you are using small chunks. After the fish is done marinating, we coat it with a mixture of rice flour and a touch of semolina for crunch. This will essentially glue the marinade and the flavour to the fish, while giving you a delicious toasty and crunchy topping to bite through. Even talking about this has me pretty damn excited.

wp-1489489184669.jpg

 

The ingredients for the marinade itself are really straightfoward. Start with the tamarind, some dried chilli, chilli powder, a touch of turmeric, asafetida, some corinader, a pinch of salt, crushed garlic and minced ginger – BAM. You need to soak the dried chilli in a 1/2 tsp of hot water for 10 minutes before transferring the chili to a mortar and pestle, and crush away. The final marinade should be nice and thick, but smooth overall. You have to rub the marinade into the flesh of the fish. If you plan to use skin-on fish, then use a sharp knife to just score the skin. This way the intense marination flavour with get straight to the meat and the skin too. Yum yum yum!

wp-1489489223888.jpg

So here we have the recipe card! Do tell me what you thought about this one

tava-fish-tamarind.jpg

 

 

Spicy Glazed Fish

We all know that Basa is super cheap, and I’m pretty sure most people relate taste and quality straight to price. But did you know Basa is actually cheap because the costs involved in transport and care are less? Turns out that Basa is actually a sustainable fish that can be farmed close to processing factories that are inshore. This saves the costs involved in large fishing fleets entailing licensing, fuel prices, and travel. In addition to this, Basa is actually really easily harvested and the costs to raise them are less than any other fish.

DSC09461.JPG

 

Okay enough of the serious talk. The point of my rant, Basa is actually wonderful! How do I know about this? It started from a healthy discussion regarding the cost of fish and its relation to quality and taste. We pondered why basa fillets were so affordable and whether it not it meant basa was actually unhealthy, as opposed to the usually pricey but very healthy salmon. On that note, this recipe… I think is perfect for Salmon and I am so freaking keen to try it.

DSC09469.JPG

 

This recipe itself is sort of inspiration from those challenges you see on Masterchef and shows like Ten Dollar Dinners from Food Network. I thought I would create a recipe that was different, and used everything I already had at home – using everyday ingredients – to make something that is a little extra special. I think I managed to figure this one out spot on. For starters… there was no fish left for the day after, and it made the house smell so divine, my dog was crazily excited.

DSC09467.JPG

 

Moving on. What makes this recipe spicy is the hot sauce. I used Sriracha because… well… who doesn’t love sriracha sauce? I added a little sweetness with honey, and some saltiness with soy. This really is an Asian influence recipe. Β Here it is:

spicy fish

 

See fairly easy right? I left my fish to marinade for 5 hours, and it made the fish sooooo incredibly tender. After cooking it the Basa was wonderfully flaky and honestly just melted in the mouth with that insane glaze. I served it up with a simple spinach andΒ rocket (is that even how you spell it?) salad and a nice squeeze of lemon juice. Cut down the spicy flavour by serving with some fluffy rice (maybe infused with coconut), or just eat them away with some noodles.

Hope you liked it!!

Crispy Coconut Fish

For those that know me, they know just how much I absolutely love coconut. I love the flesh, the milk and the water. Every time I open up a can of coconut milk, and have some left over, I am always inspired to create and attempt new recipes using the wonderful ingredient.

The sweet taste of the milk is always so perfectly Β balanced with spice and lime in so many Indian and Thai recipes. It works so well in curry and puddings. One of my favourite recipes in fact is a yummy coconut rice pudding (kheer or payasum as it is known in Indian cooking). On that note… I’ll be publishing some yummy pudding recipes soon!!

DSC09088.JPG

This recipe took inspiration from Angel Prawns I ate at one of my favourite Thai restaurants. The prawns are covered in a delicious coconut topping and then fried to create a delicious crispy coconut crust over a superbly tender prawn meat. Now with Basa fillets in the house and coconut milk left over, I thought I would take a shot at making crispy coconut fish.

The prawns were fried, yes, however in an attempt to be a little healthier this summer, I decided to bake them. Do note that you can 100% fry this recipe (shallow or deep) and in fact would be a WHOLE lot quicker to make. By baking them I added about 20-30 mins to the cooking time, but hey… anything to keep that cholesterol low right?

DSC09082.JPG

Fish is such a great ingredient to stock up. Particularly lighter fish like Basa. It is relatively cheap, and you can very often find good quality frozen fillets too. Better yet, fish cooks super quickly making it perfect for those quick dinners for the family. Furthermore, fish is so wonderful for the body. It is high in omega 3 and protein and is so lean on the fat. Incorporating it into your diet will really do wonders for you and your family.

Now to the recipe.

crispy coconut fish.jpg

DSC09084.JPG

The end result of this fish… a house smelling like yummy coconut and lime. Honestly these two flavours together are just heaven πŸ™‚ . The desiccated coconut creates a really light and crispy coating over a truly tender fish. I served mine up with some spicy coconut black rice and quinoa (with some chia seeds) – watch this space for the recipe coming soon!!. Add some lime over the top, maybe serve it with a fresh salad – I would really suggest a fiery papaya salad. This recipe really just combines some simple basic flavours together and creates a fun alternative to boring dinners. You can really take this to another creative level by making these into fish fingers for the kids to take to lunch, or making fish, prawns and even some calamari with the same coating for nice seafood platter.