Quick Update: Dalma

@AbyssMallu and I did dinner together after we saw @vip_nair off at the bus station before he left for home (and subsequently for London). Tragic moments call for good food. And this was probably it, for me.

Simple Bengali cuisine (though their name suggests Odishi), river fish, chapatis, rice, curries. Nothing too spicy, nothing too fancy. But pretty delicious and most definitely worth the money you pay for it.

Address:
37, 100 Feet Road,
6th Block, Koramangala,
Bangalore
(It’s just a little way after the Sony World Signal in Kormangala, on your way to the Shanthi Sagar junction, and on the ride side of the road)

Cost:
Rs 400/- for two, without alcohol

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Grilled Fish with Walnuts, Raisins and Red Chillies

The plan was to make @samar11‘s Old Monk Pork Chops because weekend means alcohol and I needed to get my cooking mojo back. The past two months were either a butt load of eating out and getting drunk or usual, every day cooking: the occasional chicken shwarma or shrimp curry.

That needed to be fixed. Old Monk Pork Chops sounded just about the thing that would do the needful. Subject to the availability of pork chops. Super market. No pork chops. Mutton – only curry cuts. No chops there either! Game plan changed.

I walked over to the seafood section and as I waited for my token-number to be called out, while decided what I could make for dinner, somebody unloaded a hill full of white pomfret right before me. Fresh, decently sized white pomfret. Done! That and some squid.

I was so excited with all the ideas swimming through my head, that I forgot to pick up beers on the way. Or Old Monk, for that matter. I wasn’t going to cook my fish with Old Monk anyway.

And I found a recipe for the Old Monk Pork Chops on his column, just in case the paltry numbers of readers I have don’t own the book already and need a reference.

I came home, thinking of a Recheado Fish recipe that @kurtbento had once given to me.

So, I decided to make my own sweet and spicy fish – some of the Old Monk Pork Chops recipe and some recheado fish and I hoped it’d turn out alright. It did.

That book makes you want to cook, man! And do a good job of it! It does!

Ingredients:
For the fish:
2 whole pomfret, cleaned, with slits made in the body to aid marination
Salt, to taste
Turmeric powder
Juice of a lemon

For the marinade:
4 walnuts
2 red chillies, roughly broken up
15-20 raisins, soaked in warm water
1 medium sized onion, roughly chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
A little bit of sugar
Some vinegar
olive oil, to cook
salt, to taste

Method:
1. Marinate the fish in lemon, turmeric and salt for a couple of hours.
2. Roast the walnut and red chillies for a few minutes, until the fragrances begin to release. Dump this mixture into a blender and set aside.
3. Heat some oil (I used the same pan), and add the onions and the ginger to it. Saute until they begin to sweat. Add a dash of vinegar and a pinch of sugar to caramelize the onions and to add that sweet touch to the paste. Let it cool down for a few minutes and add this to the blender as well.
4. Add the raisins to the blender now and mix everything to a smooth paste. Add some of the water used to soak the raisins, to give the paste some consistency.
5. Coat the fish evenly with this paste, letting it seep into the slits in the fish. Let this sit around for another half an hour to forty five minutes.
6. Bake the fish at 170 degrees celsius for 5 minutes on each side. Serve as is, or like I did, with some soba noodles.

Notes:
1. The fish turned out amazing. I was pretty proud.
2. I also made some soba noodles with it, tossed them in some olive oil, basil and garlic. And then placed the fish on them for a picture. Stupid move. Who eat a WHOLE fish (with bones) by placing it ON another food? Well, I’m fairly good (and meticulous) when it comes to eating fish-with-bones, so I did a good job, nevertheless. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it was a stupid move.

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Bun Rieu

This is pretty much everything the pho recipe calls for, and a little more.

Bun Rieu is typically a tangy broth with flat rice noodles, stewed tomatoes and crab meat and other seafood.

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Ingredients:
(serves 2)
2 small squid, cleaned and cut into rings
12-15 shrimp
6-8 shrimp, for the shrimp sauce
2 crabs, de-shelled (I left the crab claws whole, because I like to crack them when I eat them)
2-3 tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 onions, halved
2-4 pieces of ginger, about an inch or more long
A pot full of water
1 stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
4-5 star anise
2-3 pods of cardamom
6-8 whole cloves
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 one inch stick of ginger, cut into thin slices
1-2 whole dried red chillies, soaked in warm water
A pinch of sugar
(another) 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
A handful or two of rice noodles
Bokchoy or spring onions
2 limes, cut into wedges
Cilantro, to serve
Mint leaves, to serve
1 red chilli, cut diagonally and de-seeded, to serve
Bean sprouts, to serve
Sriracha hot sauce, to serve

Method:
1. Roast the onions and the ginger by sticking skewers through them or using a pair of tongs, and working them on an open flame. Alternately, char them in your oven by setting it to the highest temperature, lightly coating the onions/ginger with some oil and roasting for about 10 minutes.
2. Fill a pot with about 5-6 cups of water. Add the onions, the ginger and the dry spices (coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon). Bring the water to a boil, on low heat. This can take upto an hour.
3. Strain the water and keep the spices for re-use later, or toss them. Your call, entirely.
4. In the meanwhile, prep the noodles. Bring some water to a boil. Take it off the heat and soak the rice noodles in it for about thirty minutes or until the noodles easily wrap around your fingers.
5. Drain the hot water and rinse the noodles in cold water. Allow the water to drain and set the noodles aside.
6. Soak the dried red chillies in warm water for about 30 minutes. De-seed the chillies.
7. Heat some oil and saute some juliennes of ginger and some garlic, until lightly brown. Add the shrimp, the red chillies, the fennel seads and the fish sauce and cook for a couple of minutes.
8. Grind the above mixture to a smooth paste.
9. Heat some more oil in a large vessel. Add the shrimp paste and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, but are not mushy.
10. Now, add the sea food to it and cook for a few minutes. Make sure you don’t cook it too long, else the squid will get over-cooked and rubbery.
11. Toss in the green, whole spring onions,or bokchoy and cook for a minute.
12. Now add the broth and the noodles and bring to a boil.
13. Adjust spice and salt, as required.
14. Serve with garnishes.

(I added a tad bit red food colouring because I wanted pretty pictures, but you don’t really need to do that. I was just being stupid.)

Sushi

Siddharth was home for dinner one night. Just because it’d been a while since we’d hung out. I finished a bottle of Chenin Blanc. And he enjoyed his Dunkels. And then there was some sushi.

I don’t think these have names, really. I just put together some stuff and wrapped it up with nori and sushi-rice.

Also, I’ve tried sushi one time before. but the pictures were terrible. These aren’t too great either. But they’re better than the first. So, here they are.

This one has nori on the outside, sushi rice inside it, and at the core, I’ve used avocado, red peppers and some grilled crab-meat.

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This second one has sushi-rice on the outside, and nori just inside it. I’ve used sesame seeds on the sushi-rice. On the inside, I’ve used some more avocado and grilled crab and some prawns in sweet chilli sauce.

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I won’t post a recipe here because I’m not qualified to make sushi, really. I think it’s a very integral part of the Japanese way of life and people spend years trying to make good sushi. You should watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi, in case you haven’t.

This is just my attempt at putting together a bunch of things available at hand, to make something that a friend and I could enjoy over some important conversation and good alcohol.

London-style Fish and Chips (albeit, with a twist)

Weekends are for cooking. Or getting drunk and wasting. Occasionally, they involve drinking and cooking.

I had a bottle of some nasty Kingfisher Strong a friend had left behind in my refrigerator and I wasn’t going to drink it. I wasn’t going to use it in my hair as conditioner either. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to pour all of it down the drain just yet. So I decided to cook with it.

London-style beer-battered fish and chips seemed like a fun idea.

I picked up a whole black pomfret, fresh from the supermarket and asked the man to make fillets for me. I was pleasantly surprised by how fine his work was. I’m tempted to get more fillets made, soon. It’s way better than buying frozen basa-fillets from Nature’s Basket, really.

I also had some avocados that I needed to use. And guacamole wasn’t something I wanted to make, this time around. Thankfully, there’s the interweb. And there’s never a dearth of good recipes. Crumb-fried avocados seemed the perfect substitute for fries, because if you’ve read my Belgium post, you’ll know I’m not big on potato fries, in general.

And thus, Sunday lunch was planned.

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(The “eat-healthy” whore in me didn’t agree on frying the fish AND the “chips”, so I altered the crumb-fried avocado recipe to baked, crumb-coated avocados. You could alternately make them pan-fried.)

Baked, Crumb-coated Avocados:
Ingredients:
2 avocados, pitted and cut into wedges, to look like french-fries
1 cup semolina (rava)
Half a cup rice flour
Salt, to taste
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil, to drizzle

Method:
1. In a plate, mix the rice flour, the semolina and the salt.
2. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees celsius.
3. Dip the avocado wedges first in the egg mixture and then coat them evenly with the flour/semolina mixture and lay out on a baking dish.
4. Drizzle the coated avocado wedges with some olive oil and bake for 3-4 minutes on one side, and then flip over and bake for a couple of minutes on the other side. Drizzle a little more olive oil if required.

Notes:
Burnt avocado tastes really nasty. It’s bitter and can ruin the taste of the wedges of avocado altogether. Reduce the time the avocados are in the oven, in case you see them getting overly browned. Remember, avocados are eaten raw too, so you’re putting them in the oven, just to get them crumby and crunchy, not to cook really. They’d taste great even without the crumb-coating.

Beer-batter Fried Fish Fillets
Ingredients:
4-5 fillets of a fish of your choice
Oil, for frying
2 cups of lager beer
1 cup of gram flour
1 teaspoon garam masala (or bay seasoning or five-spice)
Salt, to taste

Method:
1. Make a batter using beer, gram flour, the spice mix and salt. The batter should be thick and stick to the fish when it is dipped in.
2. Heat enough oil in a vessel, so that the fish fillets will be submerged completely, when immersed.
3. Dip the fish in the batter and gently slide into the oil. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the batter turns a fine golden-brown and flip it over to fry for a few minutes on the other side as well.
4. Take the fillet out of the oil and dry on some paper towels.

Points to Note:
1. A runny batter will result in the batter not holding on to the fish entirely and it will give way, in the oil, resulting in some not-so-nice fillets of fried fish.
2. You can test if the oil is hot enough by gently letting a drop or two of batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the batter will rise to the top.
3. Be very careful about frying the fish. Let it into the oil very gently, from the side. Fish generallt tends to have more water content than most other meats or veggies and will cause the oil to splatter, if not handled with care. This can be dangerous.

Tartar Sauce:
(Makes a little over 1 cup)
1 cup mayonnaise
Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup dill pickle
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 tablespoon capers
1 small scallion
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 to 3 drops hot sauce

Method:
1. Combine all ingredients (except the mayonnaise) in a food processor.
2. Add this mixture to the mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

To Serve:
Typically, fish and chips are served with tartar sauce and a wedge of lime, in an old daily or in a brown paper bag or box.

I tried to recreate that in my own silly way. I won’t say I was entirely successful here, but that first picture with the beer bottle and the instagram filters came out pretty well, I think.

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