Goan Prawn Curry with Okra

Like some of you already know, my mother’s family originally is from Goa. Growing up, we spent almost every summer in our ancestral home in Goa. It was a sprawling old Portuguese styled house with large grounds surrounding it. In our garden grew a variety of mango trees. We also had a great big coconut tree. Our garden also housed some custard apple, pomegranate, chickoos / Sapota, jackfruit, cashews, guavas, bananas and so much more. Some of my fondest memories have got to be me tagging along with my aunt harvesting all the lovely organic produce right through our holidays and enjoying all the yummy food my mum and aunt would whip up for us.

This prawn curry made a regular appearance on the table along with some Goan red rice and whatever vegetable was in season. Our Goa house had 2 kitchens, one was a traditional old wood fired one and the other was a modern one with a gas stove-top. However, almost all the cooking was done in earthenware pots in the old kitchen. While everything took a lot longer to cook, the taste was unbeatable. 
I would give anything to experience something like that again. While that might still be a pipe dream, for now, I just make do replicating some of the good old recipes. This prawn curry is a coconut based curry, known for its vibrant orange color and its spicy and tangy flavors. I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we do. 
Goan Prawn Curry with Okra

500g prawns, shelled, de-veined and washed a couple of times
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 chillies, split lengthwise
A couple of pieces of Kokum / Aamsol (dried souring agents)
6-8 okra pods, trim off the stalk and cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp oil
A small ball of tamarind (about half a walnut in size)
For the masala / spice paste – 
1/2 cup grated coconut
6 Kashmiri chillies
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp black pepper corns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
Sprinkle a little salt on the prepped prawns and set aside. 
Soak the tamarind in a little warm water in a small bowl and set aside. 
Grind all the ingredients for the masala into a fine paste using a little water, as needed
Heat the oil in a large vessel. 
Add the onions and saute till they soften. Add the kokum / aamsol.
Add the ground masala / spice paste to the pan and let it fry for a couple of minutes. 
Add a cup of water to the mixer and swirl around to pick up any of the remaining spice mix and add to the pan. Add more water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Add the chillies and bring to a boil. Season lightly with a little salt (The prawns also have some salt on them so add salt accordingly).  Lower the heat to a simmer and add the okra. 
Cook gently till the okra is almost cooked. Check for seasoning.

Mash the tamarind up and discard any pieces of fibre or shell and add some of the tamarind paste, to taste. 

Add the prawns. Continue cooking just till the prawns have cooked through. (This usually just takes a couple of minutes depending on the size of the prawns.) Do not overcook the prawns. 
Check for seasoning and adjust, if needed. 
Serve hot.

Goan Recheado Masala (Rechaad Masala)

Recheado Masala (Rechaad Masala) is a quintessential Goan spice blend. You will find this in every Goan or Goan food lovers home. While its a few basic spices that’s simply blended together in a mixer / food processor, the trick is getting the right balance of flavors. Every household has its own version of this masala. And yes, we have one too. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is my Mother’s recipe which I’ve tweaked a tiny bit and I think it’s now just the way we like it.

I always have a jar of this masala in the fridge. That’s the beauty of it. You can make a batch up when you need it or make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. I store it in a clean, dry, airtight glass jar and it easily keeps for weeks, if not months. It’s a great masala to have on hand. Typically this masala is used to pan fry a variety of seafood from fish, to prawns and even crabs. We also make a finger-licking, lip-smacking okhra or bhindi with this masala. I will share those recipes with you really soon. 


Goan Recheado Masala 
20 Kashmiri red chillies 
1 whole pod of garlic, peeled
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
3 cloves
2 inches cinnamon
5 cardamom pods
A small ball of tamarind, about the size of a walnut
Vinegar, to grind the masala to a paste
Sugar and Salt, to taste (optional, see note)
Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for a couple of minutes. When it has softened, mash it between your fingers and discard any seeds, pieces of shell or fibre that you may find.)
Place all the spices in your mixer. Add the tamarind pulp and the water it was soaking in. Add a couple of generous tablespoons of vinegar. Blend to a smooth paste, adding more vinegar as required. (Halfway through this process, scrape down the sides of the jar to make sure you get a smooth paste).
When it has blended to a smooth paste, it is ready to use. 
Store any excess in a clean, dry, airtight glass jar in the refrigerator and use as needed. 
NOTE:
You can add a little salt to taste and 1-2 tsp. of sugar while grinding, if desired. I leave this out, so that I can season the dish as I need to, when using this masala. 

Tisreo Sukhem – A Goan Clam stir fry

It seems like I’ve been on a bit of a Goan food trip lately. For the past couple of days, we’ve enjoyed a whole lot of it. This is my 3rd consecutive Goan seafood recipe on the blog. And that too, in a matter of a couple of days. But I must say, I’ve enjoyed every single bite of it.

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 –

Tisreo Sukhem


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.

Serve hot!

Goan Dried Prawn Kismur – A Goan dried prawn salad

Guys, I finally got down to trying this recipe out myself. I have wanted to make Kismur (pronounced Kis – moor) for months. The only thing holding me back was the availability of dried prawns in Sydney. Most (if not all) Indian stores I’ve been to, don’t stock dried prawns and fish. I had once bought a packet from a Chinese store and I wasn’t too happy with it. I was researching Sri Lankan cuisine a few days ago and I read that they use dried prawns too. So yesterday I popped into my local Sri Lankan grocery store, and lo and behold, sitting proud on its shelves were so many varieties of dried fish and prawns. I grabbed a bag and knew exactly what I was going to try with it.

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.)

Enjoy!!!

Goan Crab Curry

What do you do when some gorgeous Blue Swimmer Crabs call out to you at the Fish Mongers? Well, you take them home of course. And then you get your Mum, who by the way is a fantastic cook and happens to be visiting at the moment, to whip you up a big ol’ pot of some amazing Goan Crab Curry. Nothing compares to the joys of enjoying Mum’s cooking. Atleast, that’s what I did. If you don’t have the same luxury, I’ve got permission from Mum to share her Crab Curry recipe with you so that you can enjoy some of it too.

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
Serves 6-8

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
3 cloves
8-10 peppercorns (this will add heat so use about 6-8 for a milder curry and around 10 if you want it hotter)
2″ cinnamon
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.

Keep aside.

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.

Enjoy!!!

*** NOTES: 
– 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. 

Goan Fish Cutlets

UPDATED: to add recipe video.

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
1-2 eggs
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.

Serve hot.

If you enjoy a good cutlet, try out some of these recipes –
Fish Cutlets
Beef Cutlets
Eggplant Patties
Thai Inspired Chicken Patties
Quick and Easy Crab Cakes

Quick and Easy Crab Cakes

I’ve always been in awe of Costco outlets. Back in India, we had nothing even close to those kind of outlets. When we moved to Australia, I was eager to get into one. I had also heard that shopping at Costco meant buying huge quantities and it was a while before I had the space for larger quantities. But a few months ago, when we moved, we finally had the space needed and we made our first trip to Costco.

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
1 egg
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.

Prawn Pulao

One whiff of this prawn pulao takes me back years, or is it a couple of decades back to when I was growing up (yikes, I feel old now). My mum used to make this pulao for us. I grew up in a house of prawn lovers. Yes, you heard that right. Mum has a few go to recipes for prawns – this Prawn Chilly fry with Coriander speckled rice (my absolute favorite), a Goan prawn curry (I still cannot get mine to taste like hers so I will get her to make me some for the blog) and this prawn pulao.

This prawn pulao is pretty amazing. It is a meal in itself served with a nice, light, fresh salad alongside. It comes together fast and easy and if you love prawns like us, you’ll be glad to have this recipe to fall back on. Throw in a few drinks and you could make this to serve a crowd too. The recipe below makes 2 generous portions if served as a meal. If you intend making a larger quantity, you just need to keep in mind the rice to water ratio. As long as you use 1 portion of rice to 2 portions of water, you’ll be fine. All the other ingredients can be multiplied and adjusted to suit your taste. As long as the rice and water ratio is right, you will be left with a perfect rice dish. It wont be mushy, the grains will be whole, the rice will be fluffy and all will be well.
Prawn Pulao
Serves 2
For the prawns:
10-12 medium to large prawns, shelled and deveined (5-6 per person) (I used the local Aussie Banana Prawns, but you could use King Prawns or any other type you can get your hands on)
Salt, to taste
Lime / lemon juice to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp olive oil
For the rice:
2/3 cups Basmati rice
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cardamom pods
5 pepper corns
2 pieces of cinnamon, about an inch each 
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 green / red chilly, finely sliced (optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 1/3 cup water
1-1 1/2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped, to garnish
Marinade the prawns with some salt, a little lime juice, turmeric and chilly powder and keep it aside for 15-30 minutes.
Wash the rice and drain the water. You will need to do this about 2-3 times, till the water runs clear. 
Place a tablespoon of oil in a frying and and when it is hot, carefully place the prawns in the pan without over crowding the pan. Fry the prawns till they turn opaque with a little char and flip them over and let them char on the other side too. This takes just a couple of minutes, don’t leave them unattended. You just want some color on the outside. They don’t need to cook all the way because they will continue to cook with the rice. Take the prawns out of the pan and keep aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pot that you want to cook the rice in. Add the cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, pepper corns and cinnamon. In a few seconds, the spices will smell fragrant. Add the onions to the pot.
Saute the onions till they have softened. 
Add the ginger garlic paste and let it cook of for a minute. 
Add the turmeric powder and the sliced chilly and stir it up.
Add the tomato and stir well. 
Drain the rice and run some fresh cold water through and drain it again. 
Add the rice and the fried prawns to the pot and stir gently till the rice and prawns are coated with the spices. Season with some salt and add the water.
Stir a little and check the seasoning. I taste a little of the stock and see if more salt is needed.
When the water comes to a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Let it cook till all the water is absorbed. As soon as all the water is absorbed, take the pot of the heat and leave aside covered for a couple of minutes. Loosen the rice gently with a fork.
Serve hot and sprinkle the chopped coriander over the rice just before serving.
Enjoy!!!

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta with Pine Nuts and Lemon

Ok, so those of you who blog will be able to relate to what I have to say. I sure hope I am not the only one 😉  While I would love to be able to be more of a ‘from the plate to the blog’ on the same day kind of person, more often than not, life gets in the way, and some times it takes more than a couple of weeks for me to post about a certain recipe. As a matter of fact, I still have a couple of recipes from a couple of years ago that I still haven’t gotten around to sharing with you yet. Oh dear, did I just say that out loud!

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
Serves 4

250g spaghetti
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

This was dinner on a weeknight when I was flat out of ideas. I’m part of this group on Facebook called the Home Baker’s Guild and this recipe just happened to be posted there that very day by a lovely lady, Prerna, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few days later. My husband and I love our seafood and most of it is either in the form of a curry or fried with some spices – Goan style or crumb fried. This is the first time I baked fish. I used a delicately flavoured basa fillet for this and I think it worked really well. The sauce was simple to put together and within a short while we were sitting down to a nice, healthy, home-cooked meal. I served the baked fish with some lightly buttered spaghetti and a fresh garden green salad.

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.