Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Baked Rainbow Trout with herbs, spices and sesame oil.


 

I realise how little fish I cook in the UK. One reason being, when I look at fish in the supermarket my face turns all odd. Only until Marks and Spencer started stocking rainbow trout did I really start purchasing fish. Hey, for GBP5 I get 2 packets that contains a whole fillet of fish each, why not? And mind you they keep well in the freezer too.

I will also admit that cooking fish is still relatively new to me as I have only ever attempted steamed fish and grilled fish. So why not I thought to myself attempt to bake the fish. So here's what went into it:

Ingredients:
1 packet of rainbow trout - contains two fillets
1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
a dash of salt
a dash of soy sauce
2 tbsp of olive oil or enough to coat fish
1 tbsp of sesame oil
30cm sleeve of aluminium foil

Method:
  1. Heat your oven to 200 Degrees.
  2. Next wash your fillets under running water to rid of any sediments. Then on kitchen towels, dab til dry before transfering onto aluminium foil.
  3. Then carefully add all the marinade above before wrapping up fish. Even if it doesn't cover all the way is okay. As long as it does not leak from the sides. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. The fish meat will turn light pink and a little springy. That's when you know it is cooked. Don't overcook it, otherwise the fish will turn icky!!!
  5. Dish out onto dinner plate, pour remaining juices onto fish and over condiments and serve hot.
This dish can be served up with buttered french beans, and mash potatoes, or in this case, I toasted up sweet brioche. But in any case you can always serve it with anything. Don't worry about the chilli flakes. That is always optional. That's just the spice in me! Notice there is no pepper? That's because the chilli flakes are already in it and that would keep the spiciness just right :)

Enjoying the delectable tastes of baked fish,
The Innovative Baker


Monday, 8 November 2010

Malaysian Spices - Kaffir Lime Leaves


When you read a typical South East Asian recipe, especially Thai curries and Nyonya based dishes, the Kaffir Lime Leaf is actually quite essential. The fresh ones have a deep green colour to it and evokes a fresh lime essence when you smell it. Even dried, as is depicted in the picture still gives out the lime aroma and keeps longer when dried. However, when you do obtain them dried, you can freeze them. Be sure to wrap it in a layer of paper first to keep moisture out. A trick that my mother taught me, and it does work is use newsprint. Yes, actually newspaper sheets. So what you do is, place the fresh kaffir lime leaves into a zip log bag. Then wrap it with the newspaper sheet like you would a baby. Then carefully place them in the freezer. 

I usually keep a bunch of kaffir lime leaves, dried in the larder, and frozen as well because of my preference for both. A die hard cook I am anyway because if you are in a hurry, having the dried ones are handy. Whilst frozen ones can be added directly to the dish whilst cooking though I prefer to defrost them first. 


This is how the Kaffir Lime actually looks like and so far, I've only spotted it in Barcelona. The juice does taste slightly different but a normal lime is good enough whenever you're required to use limes in your cooking. However, I must admit that Kaffir Limes do give that added touch to a dish anytime.

So where can you buy Kaffir Lime Leaves? This is available seasonally fresh and more often dried in most major Asian grocery stores in London. I get my stash at:

New Loon Moon Supermarket
9A Gerrard Street
London W1D 5PN

See Woo Chinatown
18 - 20 Lisle Street
London WC2H 7BE

Want to experiment already? Then here's my take on using kaffir lime leaves in a non curry based dish:


Trying to identify the next essential ingredient,
The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Stir-Fried Chicken with Lemon grass, Coriander, Lime Leaves and Chinese Wine


 When concocting this particular recipe, I was having a recipe blockage. I stared into my fridge and found left over lemon grass, some lime leaves and freshly bought coriander. I did not want a heavily thick based soy sauce so I dug out my Chinese rice wine and I must say it turned out delicious.

So what went into the dish?

Ingredients:
2 whole chicken thighs - chopped into bite sized pieces then marinaded with 3 tbsps Chinese wine and 1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic - julienned
1 thumb sized ginger - skinned and julienned
2 stalks lemon grass - julienned
5 - 6 lime leaves
5 - 6 stalks of coriander - finely chopped
2 medium sized green chillies - julienned
2 medium sized dried chillies
Additional 4 tbsp Chinese wine
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 cup of water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Firstly prepare your chicken and make sure to marinade it for a couple of minutes.
  2. Next heat up your pot and a deep enough pan with some cooking oil and throw in the garlic and ginger. Add a little salt here. Stir fry till fragrant before adding in green chillies and lemon grass. When cooking, the fragrant aroma of lemon grass will surface.
  3. Then add in marinated chicken with the juices in the pot. Turn the chicken to make sure it is coated with the garlic, ginger, lemon grass and green chili mixture. Add the cup of water and additional Chinese wine before letting it come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Then add in the oyster sauce and dried chillies and stir to mix before letting it simmer again. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Before dishing it, add in coriander and stir. 
  5. Remove from heat and serve with piping hot rice and stir fried vegetables.
This recipe dispels the notion of lemon grass only being used in curries or in sauces. give it a try and tell me how it tastes! For those who don't like coriander, you can easily take it out. Alternatively replace it with flat leaf parsley. 

Next attempt: Thai Fish Cakes....
The Innovative Baker


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