Coconut fish soup revisited

Having previously discovered the simplicity of preparing a fish soup infused with Thai flavours, tonight was an opportunity to experiment a bit further with different ingredients.   Net result was a wholesome bowl of coconut fish soup with bags of flavour.  The ingredients are predominantly Indian by nature but the soup has more of a Pan Asian feel to it because of the coconut milk and the fresh sambal.  The soup uses ‘kokum’ to provide a bit of tang to the dish – this is typically found in India and commonly used in west coastal fish dishes.   If kokum is not available in your local Indian grocer then feel free to substitute it with some tamarind pulp.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large fillet of cod cut in half
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger cut in julienne
  • 4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 75 gm of baby leaf spinach
  • 400ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 kokum pieces chopped
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • Small handful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • Salt to taste

For the sambal

  • 1 cup of shredded coconut roasted till light brown
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small shallot (we used small Indian onions)
  • 4-5 small dried red chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Pound all the ingredients (except the coconut) to a paste in a pestle and mortar.   Once the roasted coconut has cooled, mix it with the paste and it is ready to serve.

How much will I make?

2 large bowls of soup

How do I make it?

Heat a pan, add coconut oil followed by the caraway seeds, ginger and curry leaves.   Stir for a minute before adding the sliced onions, green chillies and cook for a couple of minutes.   Pour in the coconut milk with 400 ml of water and season with salt and white pepper.   Reduce the heat to low and cook for ten minutes before poaching the cod fillets in the stock till cooked through.   Remove the fillets and add the mushrooms and spinach to the stock – increase heat and cook for five minutes.   To assemble the dish, place the cod fillets in the middle of the bowl and pour stock with vegetables over it.   Garnish with a tablespoon of the sambal and some fresh coriander.  Enjoy.

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Parsley chutney

In the South of India you get two different varieties of chutneys – either one with fresh ground ingredients or the cooked type.   We tried using parsley as the core ingredient for a cooked chutney and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.   The taste is slightly unusual at first as parsley is not a native Indian herb but after the first few mouthfuls your taste buds get used to it and it is quite enjoyable.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Large bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped with stalks
  • 3 tbsp split urad dahl
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • Piece of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A cereal bowl full

How do I make it?

First heat a tablespoon of oil and temper the urad dahl, red chilli and asafoetida till the dahl changes to a golden brown colour.  Cool and dry grind the ingredients to a powder.   Heat a pan and add a tablespoon of oil and then add the chopped parsley and cook for five to ten minutes till the parsley has wilted and cooked.   Transfer the cooked parsley into a blender and add the tamarind paste and a bit of salt and blend to a paste.   Place paste in a bowl and then add the powdered ingredients till it is full incorporated into the paste.   Enjoy with plain boiled rice or as a spread on toast.

Garden fresh – brown rice soba noodles with courgettes and herbs

With Anna away in India for three weeks I have been pretty lazy on the cooking front and coping with quick fruit salads, smoothies and omelettes.  Today I decided to use up the last of the courgettes from the garden and garnished it with a combination of herbs (plucked fresh from our herb patch).  The end result is worthy of being replicated for Anna when she gets back as I think she will like it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 80-90 gms Brown rice soba noodles (spaghetti if you are not on a gluten free diet)
  • 3-4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 1 large stick of celery roughly chopped
  • 1 small yellow courgette cubed
  • 1 small green courgette cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Handful basil, mint, oregano and curly leaf parsley chopped for garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

A hearty bowl for one

How do I make it?

Boil your noodles or pasta and keep aside.   Heat pan and add olive oil and garlic and saute for a minute.   Add the celery and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the courgettes and mushrooms.  Stir for 5 minutes before sprinkling the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Garnish with chopped herbs and add cooked noodles to the pan.   Toss around till the noodles are well coated and serve up in a large bowl.  Enjoy.

Garden fresh – warm salad of rhubarb chard and black eyed beans

This is the first time I have grown rhubarb chard in our garden and Shiv and I were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it tasted.  It tasted similar to Amaranth, a red spinach like leaf that is considered a super food and is grown and eaten widely in India.  After the first time we cooked it, Shiv and I decided that we had a winner and rhubarb chard is going to be a regular yearly feature in our veggie patch. The recipe we used is normally made with amaranth and jackfruit seeds.  We adapted this and swapped the amaranth and jackfruit seeds with rhubarb chard and black eyed beans.  The dish was delicious and I would like to share the recipe with you.

Rhubarb chard  Rhubarb chard and black eyed beans

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb chard leaves washed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup of black eyed beans pre soaked and pressure cooked till soft yet firm
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dhal
  • 1/2 tsp channa dhal
  • 3-4 dried red chillies broken to pieces (can be reduced or increased to suit tastes)
  • 4 tbsps freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter add the urad dhal, channa dhal and broken pieces of dried red chilli.  Fry for a minute or so till the dhals are golden brown and then add the chopped rhubarb chard and the turmeric powder.  The rhubarb chard should cook in its own moisture.  When the chard is cooked, season with salt, garnish with freshly grated coconut and remove from heat.  Serve hot  as a side with rice or roti of choice.