shubh kamanayem – Indian for “all the best!”

Main Course / July 8, 2014

Few cuisines are as distinct as Indian. Pungent, fresh, regional and certainly personal, the Indian culture has food tied into nearly every custom, belief and tradition. If one were to ask a group to name the single flavor most associated with Indian food, most would say curry. And yet, if you’ve ever immersed yourself into their food, you would be hard-pressed to identify something that carried through and consistently earmarked the language of Indian food. In fact, I’m not sure I would even put curry on the front burner! Onion, garlic, anise…these are the ones I think about. And yet they are also so expressive when it comes to fresh ingredients. If you care to read the vast repository of information about Indian food, you can scarcely come away with anything less than respect, and at the top end of the spectrum, humility and awe.

The first time I went to an Indian themed cooking class, I began to understand the reason that the smells permeate your clothes, hair and skin. When it comes to main courses, they are into “simmering.” Slow, purposeful, passionate, and love-filled simmering. But when I think about tasting the food, I get this weird picture in my head that the food isn’t just tasted on my tongue. It’s like I feel it up into my head, as though there are so many layers it is played out like a 3-D chess game with forks, making it impossible to have a linear tasting experience. One cannot simply take a bite and say, “I taste cumin.” Because as the aromas travel through your olfactory senses, you’re hard pressed not to continue the descriptives way past the dessert!

I have to say I am always adding a little of the Indian food pyramid to almost everything I make. Which is why my SALMON WITH MINT ROSEMARY RAITA OVER WHITE BEANS SAUTEED WITH CUMIN, RAISINS AND ONIONS TOPPED WITH HONEY LEMON APPLES came out needing such a long title! I dunno if its Indian, but it feels like it.  Each bite was so full of flavor, so nuanced, I scribbled not only the recipe but every detail I could remember about how I was inspired to make it.

shubh kamanayem- OR – All the best!! And khaane par mazaa aayaa- Or Enjoy you MEAL!

Baked Alaskan Salmon with Mint Rosemary Raita

Over Indian Spiced White Beans and Apple Salad

Serves 4


Ingredients:

4 salmon filets, patted dry
1 can white northern beans or canneloni beans, drained but NOT rinsed
½ golden raisins
1/3 small white onion chopped into thin slices
1/3 C Sauvignon Blanc wine
4 T olive oil
Salt and pepper
¼ t coriander powder
1/8 t tumeric powder
1/8 t cumin powder
4 cloves of garlic divided, 2 chopped, 2 whole
4 sprigs rosemary — take two sprigs chop the leaves for the raita, and 2 sprigs for cooking over the salmon
Handful of chopped fresh mint (about 2 T)
1/2 large jalapeno chopped finely
Juice from one lemon
1 8 oz small container of greek plain yogurt


Apple Salad:

2 small fuji apples, sliced thin
1 T honey
1 T lemon juice just for the apples


Direction:

Raita:
  • In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mint, the rosemary that is chopped, the jalepeno, lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped, and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and put in fridge.
Fish:
  • In a square roasting dish, just big enough to cook the salmon filets without them overlapping, pour in 2-3 T EVOO, or more if desired. Place salmon on oil and flip around cover, then place skin side down. Cover with salt and pepper, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and nestle 2 whole peeled cloves of garlic. Cook uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until the tops are opaque. The fish will continue to cook after you remove so be careful! THIS COOKS FAST!
Beans:
  • In a 10 inch fry pan, heat 1 T olive oil on medium high heat, add the onion and saute for about 2 minutes until barely translucent. Add the raisins and toss and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the tumeric, coriander and cumin powder and combine. Deglaze with the wine, and let reduce for about 2 minutes or so. Then add the drained beans and combine. Heat through, about a minute. Turn heat down and keep warm with lid on. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste if you desire although it doesn’t need it.
Salad:
  • In another small bowl, toss the apples with the honey and the lemon juice. Serve with the meal.


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