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Posts Tagged ‘garam masala’

Photo by Karen Knauff

I like to think outside the box when it comes to food; this dish has Thai and Indian elements. One might not expect flavors from across the Bay of Bengal to marry well, but seared salmon rubbed with garam masala was delicious when paired with jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk with mangos, cilantro, and peas. I finished the dish finished with a rich curry-coconut sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Box of jasmine rice (white rice will work)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • salt
  • ¼ cup of chopped dried mangos or fresh
  • 1 lemon
  • Cilantro
  • Frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salmon filets (Follow Trader Joe’s thawing directions)
  • Garam masala (my version had coriander, chilies, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and cloves—The five Cs)
  • Cooking oil

Pour the contents of a box of rice into a medium saucepan. My jasmine rice called for two cups of water, so I used a cup of coconut milk, a cup of water, and a pinch of salt. Follow the cooking direction and start rehydrating the dried mangos in a pan with a ½ cup of water, over medium heat. Remove from the heat when they are soft. This is not necessary if you have fresh mangos.

When the rice is finished, add the juice of half a lemon, mangos, chopped cilantro, thawed peas, and salt to taste.

For the sauce, sweat the minced shallots and garlic in butter with salt and pepper. When they are fragrant and soft, add the remaining coconut milk. Finish with curry powder, lemon juice, and cinnamon. I chose to strain out the garlic and shallots for a cleaner looking sauce. Reheat when the salmon is finished.

For the salmon, salt and pepper the flesh and massage with plenty of garam masala. Get a nonstick pan very hot and pour on a thin layer of canola or olive oil. Sear the filets skin-side down first. Also, start the thick piece first and watch the side until almost all the flesh has lightened in color. Flip and cook the spiced side for a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.

When the fish is firm and flaky, serve immediately over a mound of coconut rice and spoon over the coconut curry sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve right away.

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With this dish, authenticity was on the back-burner, but taste and creativity was on full heat. My no-curry curry features the flavors of indian spices and techniques, while a few twists, like coconut milk and lemongrass, give a subtle element of thai cuisine. Served with basmati rise, the dish is indian food without the fat cholesterol and you can control the spice. Best of all, it’s as easy as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9… Okay, it may not be as simple as shake-n-bake, but the results are well worth it.

Ingredients: (Spices should be used to taste)

  • Basmati rice
  • Can of Coconut milk
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 4-5 thick ginger slices
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large white/yellow onion
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  • 2 teaspoons Garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • About 10 mini peppers (red, yellow, orange)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of tomato paste
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 5-7 garlic cloves
  • A small bag of snow peas
  • 1/2 bag of pre-cooked lentils
  • 3 whole chicken breasts (about 3 pounds) cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or 1 stick early on
  • cumin seeds
  • frozen peas
  • fresh parsley

Follow the directions to start cooking basmati rice. It takes about 20 minutes. I’m keeping this simple since it will be under the sauce.

Start heating a can of coconut milk in a small sauce pan with the lemongrass and ginger. Keep it at a calm boil until the flavors merry.

In a large pot, sauté the onion with salt and pepper, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric. After the onions have a head-start, add the peppers. Stir in the tomato paste, and the bay leaves. Press or mince the garlic, and make a paste by smearing the garlic against the cutting board with your knife, salt, and olive oil. Add the snow peas.

Hold a strainer over the pot and pour the coconut milk through it (the coconut milk will join the party and lemongrass will have to leave. Ginger’s pon the list, so pick that out and add it back to the pot. Add half the lentils.

Quickly sauté the chicken in olive oil, salt, and pepper (it may take multiple batches) until it is opaque and pour into the pot. You may also cook it completely in the sauce which will take longer, but could turn out very well. Add the cinnamon. If you want, add a little yogurt at the end for some healthy richness.

Fluff the rice with cumin seeds—toasting in a pan until fragrant is a nice touch. Microwave some frozen peas and fold in for great color. To serve, build a mound of rice, ladle the sauce over, and garnish with chopped parsley leaves. Serve with some naan.

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