BUTTERFISH IN CHILLI YOGHURT
“Butterfish is so named because its scales are golden in colour and the flesh is tender. It can be cooked in many ways – baked, grilled, pan-fried, poached, etc. The recipe below uses the most popular method to cook butterfish, pan-frying. It is also one of the easiest and quickest methods to prepare this fish and saving time in the kitchen is always a boon. Here’s a little secret – the best way to tell that butterfish is fully cooked is when its flesh becomes opaque and can be pierced easily with a knife or a fork.” – Kanika
• 2 tbsp vegetable/peanut oil
• 1 large onion, sliced
• 1 ½ inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
• ½ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric
• pinch ground cinnamon
• pinch ground cloves
• ¾ cup plain yoghurt
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• pinch chilli powder
• 4 skinless butterfish fillets, wiped dry (about 150g each)
• 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable/peanut oil
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 fresh fat green chillies, seeded and finely chopped, to garnish
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring for eight minutes, or until it is soft and dark golden brown. Add the ginger and stir for an additional minute.
2. Add the salt, turmeric, cinnamon and cloves and continue stirring for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yoghurt, a little at a time, beating constantly.
3. Transfer the yoghurt mixture to a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Set aside.
4. Season the flour with chilli powder, salt and pepper to taste. Spread it on a plate and lightly dust the fish fillets with it on both sides.
5. Melt the ghee/oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When bubbling hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the fish fillets in a single layer. Pan-fry for two and a half minutes, or until golden. Then turn and fry the other side. Continue cooking for an additional minute.
6. Return the yoghurt to the pan and reheat while stirring carefully. When the fillets start to flake easily and the yoghurt sauce turns hot, turn off the heat. Carefully transfer the fillet to plates, pour the thickened sauce over them and sprinkle the green chillies before serving.
“The meat of a lobster is snow white and extremely fresh and light tasting. I would think even non seafood-lovers would love lobster as it does not have a fishy taste at all. I prefer tails over whole lobsters because of the simplicity of cooking and eating them. You do not need to crack anything with special equipment. All you do is pretty much stick them in the oven for a few minutes and you have a gourmet meal ready in minutes.” – Noor
• 4 lobster tails
• 4 ounces butter, melted
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1. Place lobster tails (meat facing up) onto a cutting board. With kitchen shears, cut into the tail and meat. Do not cut all the way to the end or the bottom. Using your hands, carefully open the tail so that it stays in place. Arrange tails on a baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, add butter, garlic and parsley. Mix well. With a pastry brush, cover tails with the mixture. Turn oven on broil and place the tray into it. Broil for 10-13 minutes until meat is opaque.
SPANISH BACALAÍTOS (COD FRITTERS)
“With thousands of miles of coastline, one of Spain’s most popular types of seafood is Bacalao, or cod. Made in a variety of ways such as in soups or stews, these fritters are my favourite since they can be paired with just about anything else on the table without overpowering other dishes. The saltiness of the raw fish is incredibly diluted by the cooking process described here.” – Yvonne
• 230g whole salted, dried codfish (about 900 grams when shredded)
• 475ml flour
• 2.5ml baking powder
• 4-5 garlic cloves
• freshly ground black pepper
• 250ml cold water
• 30-60ml olive oil
1. Cover the fish in cold water and place in the fridge overnight.
2. Place the whole codfish in a stockpot full of water. It folds easily so don’t worry about bending it.
3. Bring the fish to a boil. Toss the water. Repeat the boiling process once again. Remove from the water and cool. Remove any visible bones.
4. Place the fish in a food processor, one cup at a time. Be sure to process just until the fish is flaky – not pasty. Measure out 900g.
5. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and cod fish.
6. Mash up the garlic in a separate bowl or food processor and add to the fish-flour mixture.
7. Add 355ml cold water to the mixture. Use your hands to form balls or patties.
8. Heat oil in a sauté pan then add the patties or balls to the pan and fry on each side until browned.
9. Place on paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve alongside rice, beans, meat and/or a salad.
GRILLED SPICY PRAWNS
“This is finger food at its best – prawns drenched in a spicy hot and buttery sauce. Have finger bowls with lemon on hand for guests “– Fatima
• 1 kg washed and deveined prawns
• 125 g salted butter
• 2 tsp freshly crushed garlic
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 1 tsp red chilli powder
• 1 tsp peri peri powder
• ½ tsp black pepper powder
• Salt to taste
• 2 tbsp good quality or home-made mayonnaise
• 2 tbsp store-bought chilli sauce (freshly ground red chilli paste is a good substitute as well)
1. Remove the shell and dry the prawns well with kitchen paper towels. This enables your spice mixture to cling better to the prawns.
2. In a small pot, melt butter and the crushed garlic on gentle heat.
3. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well mixed.
4. Marinate half of the prawns in this mixture for a few hours.
5. Heat your oven grill or pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
6. Arrange your prawns in a single layer on an oven tray.
7. Grill, turning them at intervals. Depending on your oven, this should take ten to fifteen minutes. The prawns will turn a pinkish colour when done.
8. Gently heat the rest of the marinade until it bubbles and thickens into a sauce. Pour some of the sauce over the prawns and serve the rest as a dip. Serve piping hot with fresh lemon, crusty bread, dip and a salad.
Yvonne Maffei is a food writer, recipe developer and culinary consultant at MyHalalKitchen.com
Fatima Bheekoo-Shah is a mother of two and an avid foodie. She dreams of having a fully halal cordon bleu restaurant one day.
Kanika Aggarwal has a diploma in Indian Cooking and offers classes in Indian Cuisine in the Chicagoland Area.
Noor AlQahtani is a freelance food writer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and creator of www.yasalamcooking.com, a Middle Eastern cuisine website with more than 500 recipes drawing on her interest in cooking, writing and photography.