Making haste…and taste

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Sometimes, only just sometimes, I miss Mary. Mary was my cook and housekeeper in India. Domestic help is the norm back home, and I was exceptionally lucky to have  good staff. When I moved to Europe, my domestic life was turned on it’s head! Suddenly I was cook, nanny and driver all in one! Apart from being mom and the Mrs. of course. One learns, one learns…

Having domestic staff is (as are most things in life), a mixed blessing. It is a huge comfort and convenience, but can also be quite a pain – apart from tantrums, variable quality  of work and unannounced days off, it is yet another relationship to be managed. Long and short is, jaisa desh, waisa bhesh (dress according to the country you live in) – essentially, go with the flow… the philosophy that helps me maintain my sanity in my peripatetic existence. So, I manage, and quite happily at that.

Last Sunday we were spending some quality family time watching a movie. Even as I was drooling over the Clooney , I had one eye on the clock  (HOW sad is my life?!!) – by the time the movie finished, the family would be ready for dinner. I had 2 choices – ruin the moment by getting up and getting dinner ready, or ruin the opportunity for a special meal and dish up some sandwiches (on a Sunday evening? Nooooooo!) Mary!! Where are you when I need you?!

Aha – I had a simple and special trick up my sleeve. Fish, steamed in its own juices and sauces, served with fragrant coconut rice. 20 mins, minimum hard work, and a delicious, nutritious, special Sunday dinner was ready! The recipe is mine, the inspiration is Asian. The ingredients were all just pulled out of my store cupboard.

SHRUTI’S HASTY TASTY ASIAN FISH (the fragrant coconut rice  that accompanied it is another story ; )) (Prep time 5 mins, cooking time 20 mins)

* White fish fillets – 750 gms

* Fresh ginger – 2 inch piece, julienned

* Soy sauce – 2 tbsp

* Thai sweet chili sauce – 1 tbsp

* Lime/lemon juice – 2 tsps

* Sesame oil – 2 tsps (or use any vegetable oil as a substitute. There is some loss of flavor, but it would still work well)

* Sesame seeds – 2 tsps

* Peanuts – 1 tbsp (crushed)

* Coriander/mint/Scallions (green leaves) – chopped up. I wish I had some, but didn’t. That’s why you don’t see them in the picture!

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centrigrade.

– Cut up the fish filets into desired serving-sized portions.

– Bring out an oven-proof dish (I was in a rush, so rather than get into the hassle of oiling a serving dish, I just used a non-stick pan, the handle covered with foil) and set out the pieces of fish- try to arrange them in a single layer, but it does not matter even if there are some overlaps. It will still cook and taste good!).

– Pour over the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and sesame oil. Scatter the ginger over the fish.

– Cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 20 mins.

– Remove from the oven, uncover, scatter the peanuts and green leaves over, squeeze the lime juice and there you are! Sweet, salt, sour and crunchy. Healthy, low fat and delicious. What else? Perfect with rice or noodles. Enjoy!

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12 responses »

  1. I am going to get to eat all of it soon….can’t wait…with or without domestic help…cooking is therapeutic…..my mouth is watering:))))….lucky boys;-)

  2. I’ll try with sweet soya sauce instead of Thai sweet chilly sauce (the don’t have…). hope that will work out….

    • I am sure it will taste great, albeit different from the version with the sweet chili sauce. Anyway it was just a recipe I made up on the spur of the moment, so no `rules’ there! Would love to hear how it turns out. If you’re going to the Indian store, you could also buy the Thai sweet chili sauce there.

  3. Shruti-we desperately miss good seafood living here in Milan. Where do you buy your fish? Recipe looks great, thanks for sharing!

    • I had the same problem, Jessica. And after trying out a fish shop and various supermarkets, I have come to rely on iPer – pretty good stuff. I’m not delighted but it’s good enough. Prawns – I buy the uncooked (grey) frozen ones. They have this mad concept pre-cooking prawns before selling/freezing them (they turn orange) and that spoils everything because they toughen up even with minimum cooking. Branzino is a good fish here, as is Torta (trout). Salmon is still salmon..

  4. Hey Shruti got inspired n tried out ur Asian fish recipe.had some lemongrass n ginger sauce n added that too. It turned out scrumptious!

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