Recheado Fish

@kurtbento is awesome. Because he’s Goan. And because he’s going to help me with making panna cotta next month. And because he gave me the recipe for Recheado masala. Now that his ego has been sufficiently massaged, I can proceed with this blog post.

Painful stories lie ahead. Skip straight to the recipe if you like and break my heart.

The mother has taken on a new task. Renovating the kitchen. My grandparents have been packed off to Goa to live with their other child for a month. And my mum has gotten people to break the whole kitchen down. The whole fucking thing. Yeah, see.

We’ve shifted groceries, utensils and everything else to my bedroom. *grumble*
I’ve shifted to the TV room. Which means I wake up to Bollywood music on Channel V, starting at 8 am all the way to 9:30 am. I laze around, watch new songs and grow smarter, cooler and all that. Such fun!
But that also means no recipes this month. We’ve moved a gas cylinder, the gas stove and a handful of groceries and vessels downstairs and we’re playing Grad School. All over again. Even more fun!

Oh, did I mention my oven is in comatose under my bed? No? Well, it is.

Cutting straight to the point, no baking this month. No fancy grilled fish recipes or cocktails at home on Saturday nights. Ordering in, eating out or simple (How many people will want to kill me if I use the adjective ‘boring’?) food.

Also, I’ve been looking at a ton of food blogs out there on the interweb and have been suffering from a major inferiority complex.
1. Most blogs I am secretly in love with use the sexy, simple white layout. Mine has the grey header and pictures and all of that. No, mine’s not bad. But theirs are so awesome!
2. They have SOOOOOO many recipes. Well, they’re food blogs. And such a vast variety of recipes – spanning so many cuisines and so many experimental endeavours. Me? Mine is baking or grilling fish or cocktails. *more grumble*

But but… I think I love the creative aspect on my blog. The names. The headers. All that. I died of happiness every time I thought of those names and every time people who helped me with them thought of them. So, yeah, at the end of the day, I love the blog. I wish I could put in more recipes though. That would really make it the kind of awesome I’ve imagined it to be.

And now that I’m done whining, cribbing, speculating, I’ll write out a recipe.

This is something @kurtbento had suggested I make one Saturday evening, when I was looking for a nice recipe for grilled fish.

Ingredients:
1. 12 dried red chili peppers
2. 20 black pepper corns
3. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
4. 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
5. 1 teaspoon white sugar
6. 12 garlic cloves, peeled
7. 3-4 tablespoons white vinegar
8. juice of one lime
9. 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
10. 1 teaspoon salt
11. 6 baby pomfrets, cleaned
12. Semolina or rice flour
13. Oil, for frying

Method:
1. Clean the fish thoroughly. Personally, I prefer my fish deheaded and detailed, well, beheaded and de-tailed is more like it. Heh.
2. Make slits in the body of the fish, not too deep, 2-3 on each side and just enough to help the juices and the masala seep through.
3. Marinate the fish in turmeric powder, salt and lime juice for an hour.
4. Microwave some water in a bowl. Soak the dried red chillies in the water for about 10 minutes. Remember not to break them into smaller pieces. You may leave the stems on, if you like.
5. Grind the red chillies (without the stems, of course), the pepper corn, the coriander and cumin powders, the sugar, the cloves of garlic and the vinegar to form a smooth, thick paste. Add some of the water you used to soak the red chillies if the paste is too chunky or too dry.
6. Now coat the fish with this red paste, making sure you stuff some in the slits. Marinate for another hour.
7. Pat the fish into a plate filled with rice flour or semolina.
8. Shallow-fry the fish, a few minutes on each side, until done.

Fantastic fish! Very different from the fish I’ve usually made. The recipe for the Recheado paste is a keeper.

And now for some lessons for life.

I put the chillies, pepper corns, coriander and cumin powder, sugar and vinegar into the grinder and spun it for a few seconds. And I opened it to check for consistency, colour, aroma – all that. A whiff took me to my visit to the Tobasco factory, Avery Island, LA. I took just one small sniff, not even with my nose stuck into the grinder, as I usually like to. The grinder was immediately put aside and I was snorkelling in the sink, sans the corals of course. That lasted about 10 minutes. Yes, ten whole minutes of (nose)blowing bubbles into tumblers filled with water and then splashing my face all over with some more water. The next forty five minutes were teary eyed and runny nosed, but like any good chef (Ooooh! Look Ma, I just called myself the word!), I continued to work with dedication and whatever-other-big-words-you-might-want-to-insert-here-in-appreciation.

The recipe I had referred to online, mentioned salt to taste. I laugh a little at the thought of tasting the masala and then adding the salt. You know why.

But that quantity, it yielded just the amount of spice each of those 6 fish needed. we were a happy family at the end of it.

A lot of recipes on the web for the Recheado paste call for addition of tamarind. I think the lime and the vinegar impart enough sour quotient to add anything more. A few recipes suggested adding fennel seeds. That seems like an interesting idea.

Mum even cooked her favourite Mysore Prawns.

We packed up a few pieces of those and a fish for her “Painting Sir” – an elderly gentleman who helps her better her already-pretty-good water-colour skills.

And then there was the Barman’s pitcher. Only, the Barman made it in a tall glass – one glass, with all the alcohol that usually goes into a pitcher. I had three of those. Very quick (because I was home and didn’t need to worry about being raped by a stranger at a bar). Needless to say, I got very drunk.

But dinner was great. You know what? I should start taking pictures of happy people at the dinner table, to prove that the stuff I cook really *is* good every now and then.

And until next month, be happy with the restaurant reviews, y’all.

New kitchen, new enthusiasm for recipes on the blog. Also, new year’s resolution.

P.S.: No pictures, my apologies. But a recipe definitely worth trying.

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