Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salmon Tikka with Cucumber Yoghurt

If you are looking for a way to become friends with fish, this might be a good recipe for you. If you are already a fish enthusiast, then you're in luck too. The Indian spices, though not terribly hot, are so delicious - I'm sure there is a way to do this completely from scratch but I followed directions and bought a jar of Patak's Tandoori paste - if I hadn't made my own naan bread, this would have been a very quick, less than 30 minute meal. This recipe serves two.

You need:
- 1.5 c plain yoghurt
- 1/4 c minced red onion
- 1/2 c chopped cucumber
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 salmon fillets
- 3 TBS Patak's Tandoori paste
- 1 TBS oil
- 2 pieces of naan bread
- 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

First, prepare your yoghurt. This is a really nice, cool side that complements the spices on the fish really well. If you add some hot peppers to it, you will also get some bit. We are wimps though and don't abide by such things. Anyways, seed a half a cucumber, or a third if you have one of those giant long ones, and dice it finely. I left the skin on because I like it that way. Finely mince a about a quarter cup of red onion. Stir these, along with about a 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, into 1.5 cups of plain yoghurt. I used fat-free organic, but thick Greek style would be great too. Set this aside in the fridge.

If you are making your own naan, you want to start that well in advance, as the bread will have to rise etc. But if not, and you have purchased naan from your local Indian restaurant or from your grocery store, then you can move right on to the salmon portion of this dinner.

You need a couple of fillets of salmon - make sure the fish you are buying is sustainably fished in your part of the world. If you can't find salmon, red-fleshed trout works well too. Cut the fish into thirds lengthwise and leave the skin on. Brush the top and sides of each piece with the Tandoori paste - I used about 3 tablespoons total - maybe a little less. Don't put the brush back into the jar because you will get fishy things in your jar of paste and that is unsanitary.

At this point, bake your naan bread if you made your own, or start heating it up if you bought some. Heat up about a tablespoon of oil in a cast-iron pan, or other pan if you don't have a cast-iron one. But cast-iron is really the best. It should be on about medium or medium high depending on how hot your stove gets. Place the salmon pieces in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until the salmon turns opaque.

Give each person a warm naan bread, dollop some of the yoghurt on it, top with the salmon, and with some chopped cilantro if you are into cilantro. If not, that is sad but not your fault. You can fold up the sides and munch on it like a taco, or use a sophisticated knife and fork. Either way, enjoy!

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  1. I read a similar article on cilantro in the NYT the other month, but this one was a bit more specific in some ways. Do people really think cilantro tastes lemon-y and lime-y??

  2. Are you a hater? ;)
    I think it has a refreshing taste, which I would put in a citrus category but I wouldn't describe it as tasting like a lemon.

  3. Yeah, I don't mind it in small quantities when it blends with other flavours, as one would usually use herbs, but I think it tastes unpleasant in large quantities, as cilantro/corriander is often used in Mexican cooking. I will never order something that describes itself as containing cilantro because, if they list it, they're not messing around as far as the quantity goes! I don't get the soapy or rotten tastes these articles talk about, but I certainly would never describe it as "refreshing" or anything like delicious, delicious citrus :)

  4. YUM! I've been really into cooking Indian dishes lately and this sounds fantastic! I'll have to see if I can get my hands on some Tandoori paste.