Friday, 29 January 2010

Halibut with Indian Spices and Yogurt

Adapted from David Tanis' cookbook A Platter of Figs, I lessened the turmeric and added some smoked paprika. After a few hours of marinating, the fish burns beautifully on a grill or a griddled cast iron pan, imparting a smokey flavour.

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric
8 halibut fillets or steaks, about 6 ounces
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Handful of mint leaves

Raita (Indian-style yogurt):

3 cups Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
pinch of saffron
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 serrano chile, finely chopped

For Fish:
In a dry cast-iron pan, toast the cumin, coriander and fennel over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind fine. Put the ground spices in a small bowl and add the turmeric and paprika.
Lay halibut on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle spice mixture over fish, then massage it in. Cover and refrigerate for severa hours. Bring fish to room temperature before cooking.

Grill halibut or broil in oven for 10 minutes or until it flakes and is just slightly opaque, roughly 5 minutes per side.

Arrange halibut on plate, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with slivered mint leaves.

For Raita:
Put yogurt in a bowl. In a small frying pan, heat olive oil over medium flame and add fennel, mustard and cumin seeds. Once they begin to pop, add garlic and saffron and let it sizzle without browning for 10 seconds. Scrape contents into yogurt and gently stir in chile and ginger. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. The yogurt can keep for a day or two.

Serves 8.

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