Monthly Archives: February 2013

I do love a curry… Sea Bream

So Valentines night… What did you do this year? If the V word hadn’t already irritated you by Thursday night then I’ll let you into a casual secret meal that we made for Thursday 14th Feb 2013.
A takeaway was tempting, but I had received a great cook book at Christmas from my boyfriend, so it was a good night to try it out for the first time! The book in question was:
‘The Cinnamon Club Seafood Cookbook’ Viveck Singh.

After flicking through many mouthwatering pages and refraining from temptation and expense for a midweek meal we plummeted for: ‘Spice crusted sea bream wrapped in banana leaf with green mango and coconut chutney.’ Our meal was made without banana leaf and without any coconut, but it was still tasty!

Our Sea bream was bought at Oxford’s covered market, Hayman’s fisheries, a fantastic gem within Oxford city, in my opinion. My favourite grocers within the covered market is Bonners, where the staff are always friendly, the quality and prices beat any ‘supermarket’, supplied all the veg necessary for our meal, as always!

One thing I couldn’t get was curry leaves, but Cowley road saved the day and with its mystery shops selling many various food items from all over the world, I got more curry leaves than I actually know what to do with! (Ideas welcome!)

So the about the meal itself:

You’ll need a bream per person, get this filleted from your fishmonger if you can. Or DIY it!

Sprinkle the fillets with:
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp veg oil
Set this to marinade for half an hour. I did this when I got in from work. So 17.40.

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When you’re ready, or once you’ve had a glass of vino and catch up move to the next step:

Spice crust
5 shallots
4 garlic cloves
20 black peppercorns
1tsp red chilli powder
20 curry leaves
2 tbsp veg oil
1&1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp white wine vinegar

Pound the shallots, garlic and peppercorns to a coarse paste in a pestle and mortar, if you want a work out! Or you could electric mix it in your food processor, so much easier! Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover the bream fillets on both sides and set aside.

If you have a spare pair of hands, friend or other half get them to make the chutney:

Mango chutney
We didn’t use the coconut, but it still worked well.
3 mangoes peeled pitted and diced.
1 shallot
1 garlic
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp water
(80g coconut if you like it)

For the chutney add everything into the food processor and blend to a smooth paste.

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Once you are ready you can cook your fish in a heavy based frying pan. Add 1tbsp oil to your pan once it sizzles add your Sea Bream. Cook for 3-5 mins on each side.

We served this with naan, pilau rice and the home made mango chutney! It was delicious and although not a dry curry it wasn’t doused in sauce either. Worth it for an occasion, or a regular Saturday night!

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Seafood broth

Seafood broths and Thai soups are delicious, if you love fish and spicy things then you will enjoy broths. They are lighter than a curry but I find they satisfy the spice need. The off-putting thing when making a broth is the amount of ingredients involved and the bother of clarifying the soup. I find that if you prep all of your ingredients first this cuts out a lot of ‘faff’. I didn’t clarify this broth either, only because I wasn’t entertaining.

Serves 4
1 inch fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
2 limes, juiced and reserve a strip of lime
3 pints of fish stock
1 lemongrass stalk, use the outer leaves for the stock.
1 red birdseye chilli, cut in half or chopped
1 tbsp thai fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
8 headless raw prawns, save the shells for the broth
1 dressed crab, you’ll only need the white meat for this dish and the shell
15g rice noodles
100g cod fillet, thinley sliced
2 spring onions, chopped and finley sliced.
25 bok choi, cut into chunks
25g beansprouts
To garnish:
1tbsp each of coriander and mint leaves
2 birdseye chillies
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
You’ll need 3 pans, 2 medium and 1 small.

Peel the ginger, save the peel and cut the ginger into thin slices
Remove a strip of zest from one lime, this piece is for the stock. Juice both limes and discard the limes. (save the strip!)

Pour the fish stock into a large pan, add 3/4 of the sliced ginger, the ginger peel, the strip of lime zest, lime juice, outer leaves of the lemongrass, birdseye chilli, fish sauce and soy sauce. Gradually bring this to the boil.

While this is coming up to the boil. Decapitate your raw prawns and remove the shells, add the shells and heads to your stock pot. Take your dressed crab and scoop out the white meat, and set aside for later. Scoop out the brown meat, and put it in a bowl and refrigerate for a pate on another day. You’ll be left with the shell which should also go into the stock pot. Cover and simmer for 20mins*.

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Now sieve the stock into another medium pan, discard the items left in your sieve. This stock is now ready to use.

In the smaller pan you need to bring lightly salted water to the boil. once at boiling point add the noodles and remove the pan from the heat, leave to soak for 2 mins. Drain and set aside.

Finely chop your ginger that you sliced earlier. Chop the lemongrass in half. Bring the stock to a gentle simmer and add the prawns, cod, ginger and lemongrass. Cook for 1 min.

Add the noodles, white crab meat, spring onions, bok choi, and beansprouts. Simmer for 30 seconds and remove from the heat.

To serve mix your mint and coriander in one bowl, mix your chillies and rice wine vinegar in another bowl.

Divide your broth into suitable bowls with a ladle and garnish to your taste.

*After the 20mins you can clarify the stock if you wish.

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