Fish pakoda and kumquat salsa

I know, I know….it’s been very long since I posted a recipe. If you have as many deadlines and ‘things-to-do’ lists as I have, you would probably be posting sporadically as well 😛

Jokes apart, I had to post a recipe to get my mind off of everything that is going on. I have been working on too many word documents, and I simply had to work on something else! So here is what I made for dinner today. I knew before I started that I was taking a risk with the combination I was making. However, it turned out really well and both the dishes complimented each other. Even though one of the dishes has Indian flavors and the other one does not, they still go along really well! I had never used or even eaten kumquats before so that was completely new too. Now that I know what they taste like I will be buying them more often! I wish they weren’t as expensive though. For those who are not familiar with the fruit, kumquats are little citrus fruits, almost like oranges, but these can be eaten whole, skin and all.  The kumquat salsa was inspired from this recipe.

I have been waiting to make fish pakodas for a really long time. The one thing that kept hindering me from it was the fact that the pakodas have to be deep fried. While it does not really clash with the low-carb diet I have been following, I still wanted to be cooking low calorie food, for hubby’s sake, if not mine!! But I did give into temptation today and as a result of that here is a posting 😉

Without further ado here is the recipe for fish pakoda (fritters) and kumquat salsa.

Kumquat Salsa

Ingredients:

1 cup washed, dried sliced kumquats

1/2 chopped red onion

large fistful of cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

cayenne pepper – to taste

red chilli flakes –  a sprinkling

1/2 tsp powdered cumin

1/2 tsp coriander powder

kosher salt – to taste

Method:

Combine all the ingredients. Adjust spices and salt to taste. Let the salsa sit for a while as you make the pakodas so that the flavors blend.

Fish Pakodas

1 lb meaty fish (I used mahi mahi, you can use tuna, swordfish, or any other fish) – cut into chunks

1 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour), sifted

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp powdered cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of carom seeds (ajwain)

1 green chilli pepper

1 heaped tsp dried mint

a fistful of cilantro leaves

2 tbspns lemon juice

salt – to taste

water – to make a batter

oil – for deep frying

Method:

In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Crush the carom seeds between the palms of your hands as you put it in.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again.

Gradually add enough water to make a smooth lump free batter.  The consistency should not be very runny or too thick, it should be of dropping consistency.

Add the fish chunks into the batter and set it aside for 30 mins.

After fish has been sitting for a while, heat oil on medium heat until it is hot, but not smoking. The temperature of the oil is important so that the fish is cooked and yet not burnt. Medium heat is essential, and at the same time it should be hot enough before you drop in the fish.

Slowly add the fish chunks separately, making sure that they don’t overlap.

Turn them once or a few times until they look golden brown.  Remove them onto absorbent paper and serve hot with kumquat salsa and tomato ketchup.

Bon Appetit!

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Asian pan seared tuna with peanutty soba noodles

So it’s been really long. Part of the delay was because I took a surprise trip to India. It was my grandfather’s 90th birthday and since no one else in my family has reached that milestone I thought it was important for me to be there to celebrate as he stepped into a brand new year. While I was in India my low GI/low carb diet went for a royal toss….I was eating rice for lunch and dinner and lots of other sweets. Since I got back a few days ago I am trying to get back on track. I must admit that the task was made more difficult since there was hardly anything left in my fridge 😛

I did have some Albacore tuna from Trader Joe’s in the freezer. I defrosted it and thought I would try an Asian twist with some soba noodles on the side. End result – an absolutely lip smacking tuna that I am definitely trying again! I must admit that the pictures in this post don’t look very good. I had forgotten to take pictures so I took some pictures after I had taken a bite out of it 😛 While I am at it I should give due credit to the recipes that inspired me. The pan seared tuna was inspired from here and the soba noodles from here.

Ingredients:

2 (6-8 ounce) Albacore tuna steaks (3/4 of an inch to an inch thick)

1 tbsp dark sesame oil

1 tbsp chili oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp lime juice

2 tbsp sesame seeds (for coating)

Method:

Mix the marinade ingredients and coat the tuna steaks with it. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high to high heat. When the skillet is hot, remove the tuna steaks and coat them with sesame seeds. Pan sear them for 3-4 mins on each side (or less if you want your tuna medium-rare or less).

Remove from pan and serve with soba noodles. Following is the recipe for the peanutty soba noodles

Ingredients:

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp water

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Ground red chili powder – to taste

2 ounces cooked soba noodles

1/2 cup julienned carrots

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Method:

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, water, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil and ground red chili powder.

Toss cooked soba noodles with the carrots and green onion.

Add sauce and combine to coat everything.

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. It is really good for a quick weekday dinner if you keep everything ready and simply toss it together.

Grilled eggplant and quinoa salad

In my quest to eat low-carb food I have been reading a lot and definitely changing the way the husband and I eat. One change that we had made even before this whole lifestyle change was shopping for organic foods. 90% of our dairy, vegetables and meat are now organic.

The past week we visited our favorite people in CT while we were there for a wedding. K told me that she has now been eating more vegan/vegetarian food. She represents what I would like to be – a flexitarian, eating a more plant-based diet rather than an animal-based diet.

I also told a friend of mine that I can follow a diet as long as it tastes good, so I am on a mission to cook good tasting low-carb food 🙂 My first foray into it was cooking a vegetarian meal without bread, flour and sugar. I chose to grill eggplant that K had given me. It was grown by her next-door neighbor. I made a quinoa salad as a side dish. I adapted both recipes from ones I found online here and here. This was a really great and quick dinner! I’ll post the quinoa salad recipe soon.

Grilled eggplant-

Ingredients:

1 large globe eggplant
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 mashed garlic cloves
1 tsp paprika (add some cayenne if you want it hotter)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Peel stripes of skin off the eggplant to create a zebra pattern of skin and no-skin. It makes it easier to eat. Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick circles.
  2. Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt on both sides and lay them in a colander. The eggplant will release some liquid. This will help get rid of bitterness and make the eggplant less watery after it’s cooked. After letting it sit for 15 minutes dry both sides well with paper towels.
  3. In a large bowl, mix honey, olive oil, garlic, chili, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Dunk both sides of each eggplant slice into this marinade.
  4. Preheat the grill to high (I use a stove top grill). Oil the grill.
  5. Place the eggplant slices on the grill and turn down the heat to medium-high. Grill until marked, about 3 minutes. Turn 90 degrees to make cross-hatch grill marks. Grill until marked, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Brush the slices with remaining marinade, flip and repeat the grilling procedure on the other side. Regulate heat so that the eggplant is browning, but not burning. Remove to a plate, and enjoy!