Friday, April 13, 2018

Tandoori fish tacos

As a child, I grew up in India eating mostly Indian food at home. Everywhere around me, my neighborhood, at school and later at university, it was Indian food. Yes, there were the occasional Chinese dine outs or those burgers or pizza lunch dates with the gals. But on the whole, it was roti and dal, curried veggies and rice, tandoori chicken and paneer. 

Needless to say, I understand Indian cuisine and its basics. I can cook in my sleep and get the flavors and textures correct. 

When I cook dishes from other cuisines I love to make every dish in its authenticity. I try to keep true to the flavors and textures to get the max experience out of that meal. But every now and then I get the urge to add a cross-cultural twist and I always seek inspiration from my cooking roots. 

So sometimes tacos aren't exclusively a Mexican affair in our house, they get an Indian twist. Tandoori fish tacos with radish, tomatoes, green chilies and vinegar onions drizzled with cucumber raita. The flavors all blend in beautifully leaving everyone happy. This fusion recipe is sure to spice up your next taco night. It’s a few easy steps to make the fish and raita, then it’s just chopping a few things and heating up everything else.  Easy Peasy with very little cleanup. 

Ingredients: (serves 4)
8 small pieces of Tandoori fish (recipe here)
8 small tortillas, 6-inch diameter
1 large red onion
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 medium tomatoes
A few green chilies
1 lemon
Red radish
Fresh coriander, a handful
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cucumber
Salt to taste
¼ tsp roasted cumin powder
  1. Prepare the tandoori fish as per the recipe. While it is cooking, prep the other things.
  2. Vinegar Onions - Slice the onions into thin rings. Add vinegar and a pinch of salt. Mix well, cover and keep aside to marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Cucumber raita - Gently whisk the yogurt. Grate the cucumber and add to the yogurt along with salt to taste and cumin powder. Mix well and keep aside.
  4. Veggies - Slice radish into thin slices, chop tomato, green chilies, coriander, and lettuce fine.
  5. Assemble - Warm the tortillas gently on a skillet. Place the fish in the center. Top with other fixins and just before serving, add lashings of raita (or serve on the side as a dipping sauce). 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Italian fish meatballs

Polpette di pesce, are crispy and aromatic fishballs, the size of a plump walnut, prepared with cod and flecked with thyme and parsley.  Whether fried, baked or stewed with tomato, these tiny beauties are easy and fun to make and super delish. A dish that everyone likes.

Bite-sized polpette di pesce is super versatile. Here are some ways to serve them.
  • Serve with lime wedges as a starter.
  • Serve with a crisp green salad for lunch, drizzled with some pesto sauce.
  • Make a fish meatball sub. Place a few of the fishballs stewed in tomato sauce inside a kaiser bun topped with some cheese. Grill till cheese just melts.
  • Serve over spaghetti drenched with tomato sauce and grated parmesan. Polpette di pesce is not traditionally served with pasta but hey, how does that matter. Tastes awesome. 
If you want a lighter version, you can bake the meatballs. Once prepped, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with a little oil and bake in a preheated oven at 425 ° F for 12-15 minutes.

Polpette di pesce al sugo or fishballs stewed with tomatoes make for an even tastier meatball. Fry the prepared fishballs in hot oil for a couple minutes per side. Then immerse them in the pan of tomato sauce and cook for 15 minutes till plump.

Italian fish meatballs 
Ingredients: (Makes 24)
2 lbs skinless fish fillets (I used cod)
2 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed well
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp lime zest
4 tbsp parmesan, grated
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine
2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Steam the fish until it flakes easily,, about 10 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly, then flake with a fork.
  2. In a bowl combine the fish, mashed potato, chopped onion, egg, cilantro, Italian seasoning, parmesan, lime zest, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Combine the mixture well. 
  3. Take handfuls of the mixture and shape into small balls. Roll over bread crumbs and set aside.
  4. Place the prepared fish balls in the fridge, covered for about half an hour. (see note below)
  5. Heat the oil in a  deep pan to medium high heat (till breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden when dropped). Deep fry the fish cakes in batches, turning around until golden and crispy on all sides.
  6. Drain on paper towel and serve hot with lime wedges.

Note: Chilling the meatballs helps to set the shape and makes it easier to fry. It is a great make ahead tip for when you are serving fish balls for a party. Prep the fish balls till this stage and refrigerate the day before. Just fry before serving.