Mash the tamarind up and discard any pieces of fibre or shell and add some of the tamarind paste, to taste.
Goan Recheado Masala
This sort of food takes me back to a simpler time. Back when I was in school (and that was a looooong time ago), every summer holiday was spent at the family home in Goa. I looked forward to those trips. The bus journey each way took aound 18 hours and was great fun. We’d pack a variety of munchies for the way. Bus journeys always made me hungry and sleepy. But I loved those long hours on the road. We actually looked forward to the journey almost as much the holiday in Goa itself. Have you every made that trip? What’s your favorite part? My late aunt was a fabulous cook. Unfortunately, I was very young then. Too young to be interested in learning about cooking from her. To this day, I wish I had. Back then, it was 2 months of Goan fare. And I never tired of it. Cooking was a labor of love then. Even though we had a modern Gas kitchen, my aunt chose to cook on a wood fired stove in clay pots. And the food, was absolutely out of this world. I have not tasted food like that ever again. Who knows? Someday, I may go back to Goa for a couple of months to relive those days. One of the dishes my Aunt cooked really well was a Tisreo Sukhem – a Goan Clam stir fry. And this is a dish my mother cooks really well too and it is very similar to the one my Aunt made. Fortunately, I have learnt how to make it too. Clams are more commonly known as Pipis in Sydney.
On my last grocery shop, I picked some up from the fish monger. Now, you can cook the whole shell and you know its cooked once the shells have opened up. But both, my Aunt and my mother always make it on the half shell. So I did the same. Once the clams are halved, the entire dish probably takes about 15 minutes to put together. I hope you decide to try this Goan delicacy some time. You can serve it up as a side dish to a typical Goan Fish Curry and rice meal, or serve this with some chapatis or even with bread. However you choose to serve it, you will love it.
Watch the step by step process here –
40-50 fresh clams / pipis
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
4 cloves garlic, lightly bruised / crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 green / red chillies, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1 heaped tsp coriander powder
2-3 tbsp grated coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
Wash and halve the clams / pipis. (You can also chose to leave them whole.)
Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sputter, add the curry leaves and the chillies.
Stir that around and add the garlic cloves. Let that fry off for a few seconds.
Now add the chopped onions and saute them till they have softened and the edges have just started to brown.
Add the turmeric, chilly and coriander powders to the pan and stir well. Add a dash of water (about 1 tbsp) to deglaze the pan. The prevents the spices from burning.
Now add the chopped tomatoes and stir fry that for a couple of minutes.
Now add the clams and gently stir them through the spice mix in the pot.
Add salt to taste.
Add a small splash of water to help the clams steam through. (2-3 tbsps worth)
Switch to a low heat, cover the pan and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or till the clams have cooked through. Stir at the halfway mark and add more water, if needed. Just a little to prevent if from burning. If you find that there is too much liquid in the pan, cook it uncovered for the rest of the time.
(You are looking to have most of the liquid absorbed into the dish.)
(If you are using the clams whole, you’ll know they are cooked, when the shells open up.)
About a minute before you take it off the heat, add the grated coconut and stir though. When the coconut has warmed through, take off the heat.
Kismur is a Goan prawn and coconut salad of sorts. It’s not your typical salad with dressing, but its more like a stir fry that is served at room temperature. And I use the term stir fry very loosely here as the ingredients are all sauteed before tossing together. In Goa, sun dried fish is very commonly found and used. In the summer, when fresh fish is abundant, they are prepped, salted and sun dried and this fish can then be stored for months at room temperature. You can find big mounds of dried fish and prawns at any Goan market. This dried fish is best purchased in the summer when everything is nice and dry. The fish is then stored for use during the monsoon, when fresh fish is not easily available. A lot of Goan homes serve this dried fish (also called salt fish because of the way it is cured) along with a Sorak (plain Goan curry) or a dal or a vegetable curry as a condiment. You can’t really eat as much of the salt fish as you would fresh fish but it makes for a very tasty accompaniment to a vegetarian meal. Dried prawns on the other hand, are used to make warm chilly fries / stir fries, salads and this Kismur. Now that I’ve found good dried prawns, I see a chilly fry coming up in the near future.
But today, I’m going to share with you a quick and simple version of Kismur. It is ridiculously simple to make and if you’re anything like me, you will absolutely love it. Please note, that since this is almost like a salad, the quantities listed below are approximates of what I used.
Goan Dried Prawn Kismur
1/3 cup dried prawns
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated coconut
1 red / green chilly, split in quarters lengthwise
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
Lemon wedges, to serve
Wash the prawns under cold running water and drain.
Dry roast them on a pan till crispy again, stirring frequently, so that it doesn’t burn.
Tip the prawns onto a plate and set aside.
Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat in a pan.
Add the chopped onion and saute for a minute or so till the onions have only slightly warmed through.
Add the roasted prawns and stir.
Now add the chilly, coconut, turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt. Mix well.
Place into a serving bowl and serve with some wedges of lime for those who might want to squeeze some lime over.
Serve at room temperature with some steaming hot rice and curry. (Fish curry recipe to follow. Watch this space.)
We use a roasted masala (spice mix) for this curry. So there is an extra step of roasting a few ingredients before grinding, but it doesn’t take too long and that added step does a whole lot of good stuff for your curry. It adds amazing depth of flavor and your curry just wouldn’t be the same without roasting the masala.
So if you’re craving some good Goan food, try this curry. It took us right back to Goa. And until we visit Goa again, we’ll just have to make do with little culinary gems like this one.
Goan Crab Curry
3 Blue Swimmer Crabs (or any other crabs of your choice)
8 curry leaves (curry patta)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 fresh green chillies, slit
5-6 pieces of Kokum*** (See note below)
1 tbsp oil (We use olive oil for all our cooking, you can use whatever mild cooking oil you have)
Salt, to taste
For the Masala (Spice Paste) –
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen will both work. If using frozen, let it thaw before roasting)
10 Kashmiri Chillies (See note below), discard stalks
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp tumeric powder
8-10 peppercorns (this will add heat so use about 6-8 for a milder curry and around 10 if you want it hotter)
1 tbsp oil
1 tomato, roughly chopped
Prep the crabs, sprinkle a little salt (about 1/2 tsp) on it, toss it in a bowl to salt the crabs well and set aside.
Roasting the Masala –
Heat a large pan / tava on medium heat.
Drizzle the oil in the pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute till it softens a bit.
Add the coconut and stirring frequently, roast it till it gets fragrant and the color starts changing. Lower the heat, if needed, to ensure the coconut and the spices don’t burn.
Next add the Kashmiri chillies, coriander and cumin seeds and stir with the rest of the ingredients for about another 30 seconds.
Now add the turmeric powder, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon to the rest of the spices in the pan and roast for about another 30 seconds to a minute, till it all gets fragrant and heated through.
Take off the heat and transfer to a large plate to cool.
Once it has cooled to room temperature, grind the roasted spice and coconut mix with the chopped tomato and a little water to a fine, smooth paste in the blender.
For the curry –
Take a large pot, preferably with a slightly wide base that you will be able to fit all the crabs into.
Heat a tbsp of oil and add the finely chopped onion to the pan.
Saute till it has softened and is golden brown.
Add the spice paste and stir through. Let if fry off for about 2 minutes.
Add the Kokum at this stage.
Next add the crabs stir to coat with the spices.
Now add a little water to achieve the desired consistency for your curry.
If you don’t have kokum and are using apple cider vinegar, add the vinegar, to taste, at this stage.
Let it come to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes (Please note, this time will vary depending on the size of the crabs.)
Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. At this stage if you find the curry too thick you can add a little more water to thin it down a little and continue to cook till it comes back to a boil.
If you find your curry too thin and want it thicker, continue cooking on a medium high heat till you get the desired thickness, stirring every now and then to ensure the curry doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.
Serve hot with some boiled rice or bread.
– Kokum is an Goan souring agent (dried pieces of the Indian plum) using in cooking. You will find it in any Indian grocery store. If you don’t have any on hand, just use some Apple Cider Vinegar, to taste.
– Kashmiri Chillies are dried red chillies. These are mild in flavor. You can substitute any other mild dried chillies or chilly powder.
Fish cutlets are one of my favorite seafood recipes to make and to eat. I love seafood and I also happen to love cutlets. They are so versatile. You can serve them as a snack / appetizer (they go so well with a chilled beer), as a meal with a side of chips and / or a salad or you can use them to make a fantastic burger. I have shared a recipe for fish cutlets previously using fresh fish. You can find that one here. This recipe is fairly similar with the exception of one main difference. This one uses canned tuna.
Now, I love my fish fresh. I believe that fresh is the best way to enjoy fish. But yesterday, I found myself longing to eat some fish cutlets but didn’t have any fresh fish. Now that was just not going to do. So I put my thinking hat on and eventually decided to try to make cutlets using canned tuna instead. I had heard that some people make their cutlets with canned fish, but I’d never tried it out for myself. I happened to have a few cans of tuna chunks in the pantry, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
The cans I used were tuna chunks in spring water. You need to make sure you drain the tuna well. I didn’t know what to expect and found that I had to use a little extra egg for binding but in the end I was delighted with the results. The cutlets were delicious. It took a fraction of the time to make compared to if you were to use fresh fish because the fish has to be cooked and deboned. So in all, I was extremely pleased with this attempt.
The type of canned tuna will determine how much egg is needed. I would recommend starting out using one egg and if you can shape the cutlets easily without them falling apart, then you are good to go. If not add more egg to the mix.
Goan Fish Cutlets
Yields: 12 cutlets
4 cans of tuna (I used 95g cans of chunk tuna in spring water) (Or 1 can x 495g Tuna)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Oil for frying
Drain the tuna thoroughly and flake it in a large mixing bowl.
Soak the bread slices in water for about 5 minutes and squeeze thoroughly. Crumble the bread as fine as you can and add it to the bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the panko bread crumbs and the oil to the bowl.
Place a layer of the breadcrumbs on a dry plate.
Using the fish mix, shape into cutlets and carefully coat on both sides with the bread crumbs.
Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat and carefully place the coated cutlets on the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat till golden brown on one side.
Then carefully flip over to cook to a golden brown on the other side too. Add another spoon of oil to the pan as needed.
Repeat till the batter is over and all the cutlets are fried.
For someone like me, who loves grocery shopping (There, I said it. Please don’t hate me), Costco was a grocery shopper’s heaven. From the time I set foot in it, I loved it. Fortunately for me, my husband enjoys our trips there too. On our last trip, I found some crab meat there and picked some up.
I’ve been longing to try some recipes for crab cakes, crab dip and crab rangoon, to name a few crab dishes. And while we always have fresh crabs available, I have been on the look out for some crab meat. It quickens the process and makes it easier. So buying crab meat was a no-brainer for me.
Recently, after a busy day of flower making, I found myself looking for a quick and easy dinner option and decided to make some crab cakes. I found a recipe I thought would be really nice and decided to try it out.
In a few minutes, I was frying up some gorgeous crab cakes. I served these crab cakes up with some sweet chilly sauce, some salad greens and bread. I loved how these crab cakes turned out. They were full of flavor and I had a delicious meal on the table in about 30 minutes. That’s a winner of a dish for me. You wanna hear a little secret? They would make fantastic burgers.
Quick & Easy Crab Cakes
Yields: 10-12 patties (depending on size)
Adapted from: Jo Cooks
12 oz crab meat
3 green onions, finely sliced
1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
A couple of spoons of olive oil, to pan fry the patties.
Salad leaves, to serve with
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve alongside
In a large mixing bowl, place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, salad leaves and sweet chilli sauce.
Mix it all together till everything is evenly distributed. Mix thoroughly but gently.
Heat a spoon of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
Form the mix into crab cakes and place on the pan. You may need to do this in batches.
Let the crab cakes fry till golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Carefully flip the crab cakes and fry on the other side till golden brown as well.
Serve them up with some salad leaves, sweet chilly sauce and some bread, if desired.
Anyway, today, I wanted something quick and yummy for lunch. When I was at the shops this morning, this little beauty caught my eye –
I love the idea of smoked salmon, but I’m not too crazy about the raw-ish feel of the salmon. When I saw this hot smoked salmon, I was sold. I knew this salmon would be more cooked with a lovely smokey flavour. I’d never used it before but I was quite eager to try it out. The fact that I got it at a 40% discount was just a nice bonus. Now when I bought the salmon, I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew I would find some inspiration online, as always. Usually, I don’t pay much attention to the recipe on the box / packet of the ingredients I buy. But when we were unpacking our groceries, my husband noticed this recipe and I have to admit, it sounded interesting and I was very eager to try it out. I had all the ingredients on hand, so there was all the motivation I needed.
I am so very happy that I did. Not only was this pasta quick and easy to put together, it was delicious. It was so delicious, I knew I wanted to share this recipe with you as quickly as I could. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is one of the best pasta dishes I have made yet. And I really do hope you have an opportunity to try this out. I am going to pay more attention to these recipes on boxes and packets from now on.
Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta with Pine Nuts and Lemon
1 packet Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta, flaked
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup thickened cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Dill (Fresh if possible – I didn’t have any so I used the dried bottled variant)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Add a heaped spoon of salt and then add the pasta. Cook till al denté (it should still have a little bite).
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté over medium heat, till they have softened and are nice and fragrant.
Add the wine, lemon juice and half the lemon zest. Increase the heat a little and cook till the liquids have reduced by half.
Add the cream and cook for a minute.
Take off the heat.
Drain the pasta and reserve half a cup of the cooking water.
Add the water to the sauce.
Put back on a medium-low heat and let it warm through (The original recipe doesn’t call for this step, but I felt the sauce was a little on the thinner side so I let it heat through a little and it was perfect)
Add the salmon, the pine nuts, the remaining zest and season with salt and pepper. Let it just about warm through.
Mix the pasta and the sauce together.
Serve and garnish with some fresh chopped dill. I just sprinkled some bottled dry dill since I didn’t have any fresh dill on hand.
Sit back and be amazed 🙂
Baked Fish in Mushroom Sauce
300g Basa fillets (You can use any fish fillets of your choice)
1 tbsp. butter
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp mixed dried herbs (I used an Italian mix)
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup milk
Salt, to taste
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese (You can used a processed / Cheddar cheese if you prefer – I used a little of both)
Fresh coriander, finely chopped, to garnish (I left this out since I didn’t have any on hand)
Heat the butter in a pan. Add the mushrooms and salt and sauté on a medium flame till the liquid dries out.
Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes till its not floury and has cooked out.
Now lower the heat and add the milk and whisk well so that no lumps are formed.
Add the herbs and cook for a few minutes on low flame.
In a glass baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil to grease the base of the dish, place the fish and the garlic and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over it.
Pour the sauce over the fish and sprinkle the cheese over the sauce.
Sprinkle the fresh coriander over (if using) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC for 20-25 minutes.
Keep a close eye on it while it is in the oven, I think I should’ve taken my dish out of the oven a few minutes before. It browned a little more that I would have liked, however, it still tasted fantastic.