Take a pomfret and slit it through the middle on both sides, over the bone. Mix a kickass chutney from dry kashmiri chillies soaked in vinegar, onion, garlic, fresh coconut, cumin, salt and pepper. Liberally stuff this chutney into the pomfret. Place in a baking tray lined with foil and grill for 15 minutes. Serve on a banana leaf with diced cucumber and tomato, coriander and a nice squeeze of lime.
My favourite wedding receptions are Parsi receptions. They’re light hearted, everyone has fun, alcohol is always available yet no one goes silly over it, the band plays classic hits, old aunties and uncles shake a leg. And all of this is a side show to the main attraction – the food. Glorious, glorious Parsi food.
Having grown up with Parsi neighbours in Bandra and gone to a Parsi school, I am very familiar with their cuisine and absolutely love it. I always look forward to a Parsi wedding invitation because not only do you get served a feast featuring some of their best dishes, when you opt for a non vegetarian meal that is pretty much all you get on your plate 😀
The meal is almost always a sit down affair and there’s always a beeline for the first sitting. The caterers do grudgingly accommodate vegetarians, but relegate them to a corner of the seating area as a silent protest. My poor dad who is a vegetarian would eat his meal with other vegetarian guests, while my mother, sister and I would join the throngs for the non vegetarian meal.
A particular favourite of mine from this wedding feast is Patra ni Machhi or fish in banana leaves. This is made with Pomfret fillets which are coated with a green chutney and then wrapped with banana leaves. These parcels are then placed in a pan and steamed with some vinegar and water. The preparation is quite simple and its the chutney that gives the dish all its flavour – a soft mixture of fresh coconut, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chilli, cumin seeds, pepper and lemon juice.
Salmon is by far my favourite fish and my favourite way to eat Salmon is to cook it Japanese-style with a teriyaki sauce. Pink salmon is not a fish used in Indian cooking, and therefore I have never had it with Indian flavours.
So I decided to try and cook it with an Indian sauce and thought that saffron and coconut milk would compliment the fish well. Turns out they both did, but needed help from a little cumin and green chilli. I served the fish with some stir-fried winged bean salad, a vegetable I’ve eaten in Thai cuisine, and some fried garlic.
Full of flavour and delicious!
The Goan recheado masala influenced this great pan fried fish with a spicy and tangy sauce. The recheado masala is a fiery, red paste that the Goans use mainly to cook seafood (especially mackerel), and like the more popularly known vindaloo, uses dried Kashmiri chili for the colour and heat, with coconut vinegar (rice or white wine vinegar works well as a substitute) and in a shining example of successful European-Indian fusion, is combined with Indian spices like cumin, cinamon, fenugreek, mustard seeds and turmeric. I toned down the red chili and loosened the sauce with some coconut milk for a little more calmness and a little less rocket fuel. Lightly seasoned, pan fried barramundi fillets, and a generous dollop of the sauce and you’re off to the races. A dash of coconut feni (a very potent and rustic coconut toddy) is supposed to add a lot more depth to it and I can see why. Feni has that effect on all foods and people…..I used white rum this time, maybe it will be feni next time!