Feb 5, 2011

Fish stew-- beachy flavors from the mediterranean to Indian ocean

I am no Mario Batali or Mark Bitman who gets to take a culinary road trip down the Spanish back country with Gweneth Paltrow in tow. 

I am like you. 
I order a book of that journey on Amazon. At the minimum price and track that package every day. But, I have a sense of what that road trip may have involved.
A stop at tavern to smell the pimenton followed by a lazy afternoon spent at a back country tomato garden. The gardener had the most lovely homemade wine to offer. On the way back to the hotel, a stop at the local farmer's store. Juicy sweet onions, a bag of the fresh peppers (red, orange, green), wild garlic. And oh yes lets not forget some good old fashioned freshly toasted cumin. A local bottle of wine may be a casual pick up.

You get that picture.
I like to add the touch to that journey, with some coconut powder and some curry leaves. I am a hopeless coconutaholic, which just means I need no encouragement whatsoever to use coconut. The reason I think about coconut in this journey, has to do with the fact that I love the golden and warm beaches of India as much as I like the thought of walking through Spanish back country reading a Hungarian cookbook that I don't understand. A tribute to all that is good about beaches and beachy fare. It can only be done perfect with some  fish. 
A fish stew that is a wink and nudge to all the beachy flavors!

1 big fish. I like sea bass, trout, sardines or snapper. Cleaned cut into big chunks. 
Marinated with 1 tsp of chopped garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of turmeric, a dash of lemon, a dash of vinegar, salt and pepper. Wait 20 mins.
1 big onion. Sliced
2 peppers. Any combination of color or monochrome works too. Sliced coarsely
3-4 medium tomatoes. Pureed in a food processor.
1 tbsf of chopped garlic
1 tbsf smoked paprika. Regular works too.
1/2 tbsf powdered cumin
1/2 tsp of whole mustard seeds
3-4 red dried chili peppers
5-6 curry leaves. Optional and can be substituted with any herbs. I like Dill and or Oregano
2-3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cup of unsweetened coconut powder/flakes
1. 5 cups of warm water
2 tbsf oil +1 tbsf oil for broiling fish.
salt and pepper to taste

Stew away!
Broil fish for 20 mins  turning once. You can also shallow fry your fish.
In a pan, heat 2 tbsf oil. Add the garlic, cloves, bay leaf, curry leaves, whole mustard, onion, curry leaves and bell peppers and chili peppers. Fry for ~ 3-4 mins. Add the paprika and cumin. fry for no longer than a minute. Don't burn the lovely paprika! Add the pureed tomato juice. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water and let it come up to a boil. Add the broiled/shallow fried fish and the coconut. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and let everything stew. 10 mins.

Serve over a bed of warm rice or with flat bread. A side garden salad helps :) And do not forget the rustic red wine to go with it. No white for this one

Happy eating and healthy living!


Chow and Chatter said...

yummy stew how have you been ?

Jhonny walker said...

good...I have been good...:) now with another blog too. veggierollercoaster.blogspot.com

this designer cooks said...

I love a good fish stew. This looks great and perfect for the rainy days we have been having!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

1/2 tsp pf whole mustard

Do you mean mustard seeds?

Jhonny walker said...

Hi Murasaki,
yes whole mustard seeds.

Jennifurla said...

Lovely stew, I love your new word. I make them up as I go too.

The Japanese Redneck said...

LOL...I like your description....1 big fish!