Baked Salmon

Fish cooked with spices and made into a spicy curry makes all the difference; King Fish, Spanish Mackerel, and Snapper are to name a few.

Some fish taste best when they are deep fried in oil at high temperature at first and gradually lowering the temperature. Salmon, king of all fish rich in Omega, doesn’t taste good when it’s deep fried. However, when it’s is baked in the oven, the taste and aroma that comes off are beautiful.

In the sub-continent and Sri Lanka, fried fish is something people relish daily with rice and curry. As for vegetarians, pappadam is a must with the daily intake of food, and for non-vegetarians, fried fish is a necessary accompaniment to go with the rice. In the past, I cooked spicy Salmon curry with evaporated milk, curry powder, and spices. Recently I decided to bake the Salmon fish. To my surprise, everyone who tasted the Salmon enjoyed it.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm – Salmon Cutlets
  • 1 Tsp – Ginger powder
  • 1 Tsp – Garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp – Onion powder
  • 2 Tsp – Curry powder
  • ½ Tsp – Turmeric powder
  • 2 Sprig – Rosemary
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ – Red Capsicum
  • ¼ – Green Capsicum
  • ¼ – Yellow Capsicum
  • ¼ – Onion

Method:

Wash Salmon and pat dry in a paper towel. Rub with garlic powder, ginger powder, and onion powder all over. Add turmeric powder, curry powder and salt and coat the fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Cut ¼ of red capsicum, yellow capsicum and green capsicum into long strips. Slice ¼ of red onion; Cover roasting tin (or baking tray) with baking paper. Arrange the fish, capsicum, onion, and rosemary and place the tin in a preheated oven,180° C. Cover the top with another baking paper and bake for 35 minutes. At the end leave the fish for a few minutes in the oven and remove it.

Helpful Hints:

  1. Use baking paper instead of aluminium foil for crispy skin.
  2. Capsicum and onion get cooked in the oil generated from the fish. You can add the capsicum and onion after 20 minutes for tender vegetables.
  3. Adding garlic, ginger and onion powder first to the fish before turmeric and curry powder ensures that the fish is coated well with these spices.
  4. I use King’s Curry powder, which is available in Sri Lankan spice shops. You can use any other mild to hot curry powder.
Baked Salmon

Sambar -Healthy Vegetarian Dish

Making Sambar involves 2 steps.

Step 1: Cook dhal and other ingredients in a pressure cooker.

Step 2: Cook vegetables separately in a pot and add the cooked dhal into the pot.

Step 1:

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup – Toor Dhal (soak for 2 hours)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Long Green chillies (Mild)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp -Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp – Turmeric
  • Salt – little
  • 500 ML -Water

Method:

First, wash the dhal well. Add dhal to the pressure cooker together with the above ingredients and cook according to the pressure cooker instruction. If you use an Indian pressure cooker (I use Prestige pressure cooker) stop after 4 whistles. Dhal needs to be cooked until soft. Leave it aside to cool down.

Cooked dhal

Step 2 :

Ingredients:

Cut the following vegetables to bite size pieces.

  1. 2- Small carrots
  2. 150 gm – Beans
  3. ¼ – Cabbage
  4. 2- Small potatoes
  5. 1-Eggplant
  6. 1 -Moringa (optional)
Bite size vegetables, tomato and onion

Other Ingredients

  • 2 -Tomatoes
  • 1½ tbsp – Cumin seeds
  • 1½ tbsp – Mustard seeds
  • 1 Red Onion (Medium)
  • 2 tbsp – Sambar Powder
  • 1 tbsp – Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp – Turmeric
  • 1 – Sprig curry leaf
  • 2 tsp -Tamarind paste 
  • 1/4 tsp – Asafoetida powder
  • ¼ cup -Coriander leaves
  • 1tsp – Sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Roast cumin seed and mustard seed in a pan until the mustard seed splutters. Add little water (2 tbsp) and with the formation of bubbles, add the Onion. Once the Onion is half cooked add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.

(Alternatively, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. As they begin to splutter, add onions and cook until light brown. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes). I use water instead of oil in my cooking now.

Add sambar powder, curry powder, and turmeric and stir it over. Add the chopped vegetables and cook for ten minutes. If there is excess dhal liquid in the pressure cooker pour it over vegetable mix. If there isn’t enough dhal liquid add water to the vegetable mixture.

Once the vegetables are tender and soft, add the dhal from the pressure cooker, and stir it well. After a few minutes add the tamarind paste and curry leaf. Stir the pot and add asafoetida. Add the coriander leaves and switch off the cooker. Finally, the sesame oil and mix it with a large spoon.

Serve hot with rice, bread or roti.

Sambar powder and Asafoetida powder

Helpful Hints:     

1.Tempering:  Traditionally an aromatic tempering is done to give flavour to Sambar. Heat oil (1 tbsp vegetable oil) in a non-stick pan; add mustard seeds (1tsp) and fennel seeds (1 tsp) and once mustard seeds start to splutter, add finely chopped onion (1/2 Onion), fresh curry leaves and dried red chilli (1). Once the onion turns golden brown, drain the mixture and pour it over the sambar and mix it.

My husband has some heart problem so I avoid tempering now.

2. A variety of vegetables give flavour to Sambar. You can use vegetables like Okra (ladies’ finger), Pumpkin, Cauliflower and so on.

3. Once the Sambar is cool divide it into 2 or 3 portions and store in the fridge in air-tight glass bowls. Re-heat it when required.

4. Curry Powder – King’s Curry Powder is available in Sri Lankan or Indian spice shops. You may want to use Keen’s Curry Powder or Clive of India Curry Powder which is available in the Super Markets.

5. Sambar Powder -MTR Sambar Powder is available in Indian spice shops.

Simple Mysore Dhal Curry

Cooking time: 15 minutes                                               Serves: 4

Lentils are many and varied, chana dhal, mung dhal, toor dhal, chick pea, and mysore dhal to name a few. Amongst these mysore dhal is the only lentil that can be cooked quickly and easily. Unlike other lentils there is no need to soak mysore dhal. The dhal curry below is a simple protein dish which is healthy and delicious.

My husband used to take “Mysore Dhal Curry” for International Lunches at his work place and I can safely say that it was a popular dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups – Mysore Dhal
  • 1 – Medium size red onion
  • 2 – Small red chillies (hot)
  • 1 – Long green chillies (mild)
  • 500 ml – water
  • 1 tsp – Tumeric
  • 3 tbsp – Evaporated Milk
  • 1 sprig – Curry leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp – Pepper Corn
  • ½ tsp – Cumin seed
  • 4– garlic cloves

Garnish

2 tbsp – chopped coriander leaves

Tempering

  • 1 tsp – Fennel seed
  • 1 tsp – Mustard seed
  • 1 red chilli,dry
  • ½ – red onion
  • 1 sprig – Curry leaf
  • 2tbs – Vegetable oil or Sunflower oil

Method:

Wash the dhal until the water is clear. Toss the dhal in a pan, add 500 ml water and cook in a stove. Once the water begins to boil white foam appear on top after 5minutes; scoop out the white foam with a spoon.

Cut green and red chillies into small pieces, chop onion to fine pieces and slice 1 garlic diagonally; Add all three into the pan and let it boil for 5 minutes. Add turmeric and curry leaves and let it boil for further 5 minutes. Once the orange colour changes to yellow add 3 table spoon of evaporated milk and salt and let it simmer for a minute.

Pound pepper, cumin seed and rest of the garlic in a mortar and pestle to a coarse mixture. Add the mixture to the dhal stirring it once. Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Remove from the fire and pour it on to a dish.

Tempering:

Heat oil in a non-stick pan; add mustard seed, fennel seed, finely chopped 1/2 onion, red chilli and curry leaves. Saute until the mustard seeds start to crackle and the onion turns golden brown. Pour this tempering over the cooked dhal curry.

This dhal could be eaten with rice, bread, naan or roti.

Helpful Hints:

1.Evaporated milk can be replaced by coconut milk or soy milk as per your health requirement.

2. 200 gm baby spinach leaves can be added as the final step before removing the dhal curry from the stove.

3. Instead of frying the onion and spices in oil for tempering, the ingredients can be baked in the oven. This is ideal for those who have heart related issues.

4.If you eat this dhal regularly you can avoid tempering completely. Tempering gives an additional flavour to the dish.

” Rice Macaroni -Dairy Free “

Macaroni and cheese are inseparable components in the preparation of almost every Macaroni dish. The recipe below is dairy-free.

Ingredients:

  • 350 gm – Brown rice macaroni
  • 500 gm – Chicken thigh fillet or breast fillet
  • 150 gm – Small cup mushroom
  • 2 Small – Red capsicum
  • Handful baby spinach leaves
  • Parsley leaves to garnish
  • 2 tbsp – Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp – Tumeric powder
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for Pesto :

1 cup – Walnuts

2 cups – Basil

2 Cloves – Garlic

1/2 Lemon Juice ( if large lemon ) or 1 Lemon juice (if small lemon)

1 Tbsp – Olive oil

2 Tbsp – Nutritional Yeast

Method:
Pesto Sauce

  • Process walnuts and basil at high speed in a food processor.
  • Once the mixture is coarse add garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil and lemon juice and process the mixture. Process until a smooth paste is formed, stopping few times to push down sides as necessary.

Cooking chicken and macaroni

Cut chicken into small bite pieces, marinating with paprika, tumeric and salt for 30 minutes. Heat the pan, and once the pan is hot, add chicken and cook in low fire. Add little water if necessary and cook until chicken is nearly cooked. Add mushroom and capsicum and cook for few minutes. Add spinach leaves and pesto and mix it well stirring the pan whole time.
Cook rice Macaroni as per instruction on the packet until its slightly firm. Be careful not to overcook. Drain and rinse pasta in warm water. Throw the cooked macaroni into the pan and stir it continuously in slow fire, until it is completely mixed with other ingredients . Garnish it with parsley and serve.

Helpful points

  • Usage of oil is kept to a minimum for health reason. One more table spoon (1 Tbsp) of oil may be used before adding chicken to the pan.
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes can be added to the chicken curry to make it spicy.

Sesame Balls

Sesame ball is made from black sesame and white sesame seeds. Its a healthy and tasty snack.

Ingredients:

  1. 200 gm – White Sesame Seeds
  2. 100 gm – Black Sesame Seeds
  3. 100 gm – Roasted Urad Dhal flour
  4. 100 gm – Jaggery powder
  5. 60 gm – Dates
  6. 15 ml – Hot water
  7. 2 tbs – Dessicated coconut

Method: Makes 15 sesame balls

  • Roast white and black sesame seeds separately in a pan. When sesame seeds splutter nice aroma start to emanate. Generally sesame seeds need to be roasted for 5 minutes in low flame. Leave it aside to cool.
  • Transfer the sesame seed mixture to a Food Processor or Blender and powder it coarsely.
  • Add jaggery, water and dates to the mixture and blend it again coarsely.
  • Transfer the mixture into a dry bowl. Roll into balls by hand and then into dessicated coconut.
  • Some could be plain balls and others coated with dessicated coconut.
  • Keep them in an air-tight container for a week.

Useful Hints:

If you are unable to get jaggery, use raw brown sugar or palm sugar.

Use roasted rice flour, instead of Urad flour. Soak 100 gm white rice for 2 hours;
Clean it, pat dry, grind it to a powder and roast it well.

One Sesame ball per person per day is an ideal snack. Avoid taking any fluids ( water or other drinks) within one hour of eating a sesame ball.

Love,enjoy and respect your food

I lived in London many years ago and one fine day was forced into gluten-free diet after a severe allergic reaction to bread. After a healthy breakfast of tuna fish sandwich, I left for work in a bus. I felt an unusual new development in my body and knew something was wrong. With hives all over my body, I reached my destination, stepped out of the bus and collapsed right in front of my office. I was rushed to the hospital for treatment, the diagnosis was that I was allergic to wheat.

From that day onward bread, cakes, pastries, pizza and the like were poison to me. My love and craving for these food items were so much, that I would eat a piece of bread or pizza and take antihistamine tablets to counteract the allergic reaction. There weren’t many gluten-free food items available on the supermarket shelves then.