Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sambar'd Salmon and Black Radishes, pan-seared

A couple of days ago I found myself lying in bed and mentally bemoaning my lack of activity on this blog. I realized that I'd have to get typing if I were to create a totally new recipe - I'd feel the urge to share the experience...be it a calamity or a triumph. And in the quest for something that I suspect hasn't been tried before, I sat up and started listing my favorite tastes and dishes. Right on top of the list were salmon and sambar (falafel is up there...but I'm swearing off fried foods for a bit!) So, I said, what about Sambar Salmon...which is totally different from Salmon Sambar.

Just so you know, I consider this one a triumph. Ask the husband....

Sambar, for those readers who aren't familiar with South Indian cooking, is a tangy lentil curry that is usually served with rice, dosa or idli (steamed rice cakes.) Besides lentils, sambar often contains pearl onions or radishes and can be quite versatile, as curries go. I wasn't about to pop the fish in the sambar - that felt somehow inappropriate. Instead, I decided to deconstruct the sambar, and use key ingredients to define a modern plate.




I'll share a sambar recipe with you soon, but for now, the key ingredients I planned to hijack for my salmon and radish were:
- Tamarind paste
- Red chilli powder
- Turmeric
- Coriander powder
- Sambar masala
- Cumin powder
(I'll add in curry leaves and mustard seeds the next time around - didn't do that for the first go around.)

Sambar'd Salmon:

Two large slices of Salmon (around one pound)
One tablespoon chilli powder
A quarter tea-spoon Tamarind paste
A teaspoon of Red chilli powder (but if you don't like spicy food, you can just add a pinch)
A half- teaspoon Turmeric powder
A half - teaspoon Coriander powder
One table-spoon sambar masala
A half-teaspoon Cumin powder
I also added in a teaspoon of garam masala
The juice of half a lemon
A half or one tea-spoon olive oil

  • Skin the salmon slices, and coat them with the lemon juice
  • Mix all the powdered spices mentioned above, and pat them onto the lemon-coated fish
  • Allow the spices to seep in, I gave it about three hours
  • After the marinating is done, take the tamarind paste and rub gently on the fish. Make sure that you still have a coating of the tamarind and spices on the body of the fish
  • Lightly sprinkle a half-teaspoon of olive oil in a wide pan, and over a medium heat start searing the salmon slices
  • I tend to cook the fish through, and I suspect that works best with such flavorful spices
  • Serve with the radishes mentioned below...though, you could also use the marinade and pan-searing method on smaller cubes, and serve them up as appetizers with a dash of Greek yogurt....

Tangy Radish

One black radish
Two cups broth
A half-teaspoon tamarind paste
A teaspoon of vegetable oil

  • Skin the radishes and cube into one-eighths or into half-inch cubes
  • Boil the radish cubes for abut 15 minutes in broth, so that they are cooked through, but not soft to the touch. Drain and set aside
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil over a gentle flame, then mix in the tamarind paste so the bottom of the pan is coated in the nice brown mixture
  • Add the radish, and let the cubes get caramelized a little along the edges

These are strong flavors, so you might choose have a gentle foil to it. I could see them served with a simple vegetable rice pulau. Today, I served them up with a side of carrots lightly boiled in broth to soften just a tad. Hubby S also added a slice of home-made bread to the mix.