Monday, June 29, 2009

Indian Inspiration

We love ethnic food in general, and Jeff loves hot, spicy food, so Indian is a favorite dinner cuisine. Friday night I made chapati and a curried fish dish with brown basmati pulao and sautéed peas. The curried fish recipe I invented from a blend of Thai and Indian ingredients I had on hand.

Curried Tilapia

2 Tbsp sliced almonds
1/2 stalk fresh lemongrass, sliced
2 Tbsp sliced green onion, white part only
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tsp garlic ginger paste
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp curry paste, or to taste (if desired)
2 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
Salt and pepper to taste
Rice flour

Toast almonds lightly in iron skillet until browned and fragrant; remove and cool. In spice mill or coffee grinder, pulse almonds, lemongrass, and onion until coarsely ground. In small bowl, combine coconut milk, ground mixture, garlic ginger paste, turmeric, curry paste (if using), and salt to taste. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper on both sides and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat with small amount of oil and butter. Brown fillets quickly on each side, then pour curry sauce over the fish. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes, adding water if curry sauce becomes too thick. Serve with rice or bread to soak up sauce. Garnish with green onion if desired.

Spiced Chapati

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp peppercorns
1 cup durum atta flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp yogurt
2 tsp ghee

Toast cumin and peppercorns lightly in iron skillet until browned and fragrant; remove and cool. Grind in coffee grinder until coarse. Mix flour, salt, spices, and herbs; add water, ghee, and yogurt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead briefly until smooth. Return dough to bowl, cover, and let stand 1 hour.

Divide dough into sixths and roll out very thinly. Cook in heated cast iron skillet for 1-2 minutes per side until lightly toasted. If desired, use tongs to hold chapati over open gas flame briefly on each side to puff. Serve warm.

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