Sunday, 3 March 2013

Randomly Indian: Dhal and Saraswat Machchi Kadhi

A few days ago I decided to give Cooking Around the World a new design. Basically I changed the background colour and the welcoming banner for the blog. I hope you like it! When you look at the picture there are foods and places. One of these places I can see every day, if I want to. Have a guess which one that is! However, there are other places there, I'd rather like to see more often.
Additionally I adjusted my Facebook page as well. It has to reflect the blog. 
While I was at all this I decided to change my profile picture. You can only see it partly, but I'm wearing an Indian kurta. It looks like this ...

I just wanted to mention those things. Keep it in mind as you read on. Strangely, things fit all together once more.
Have you ever thought about doing a themed dinner party? You dress up for it, maybe do some decoration, put on music and it all fits to the food you are going to have. How would you like that?
What about doing it alone ... a one person themed dinner party?
Let me tell about it ...
There is a certain person that is running this blog called Belleau Kitchen. As he is doing this random recipes challenge every month I cannot resist, but take part in it. Quite often you end up with cooking food you wouldn't have otherwise. 

 Random Recipes #25 - Feb

This time we have the theme 'cuttings, memories and clippings'. That means I have to go and search my shelves for those hidden cuttings and clippings to find some recipes. I don't have as many cuttings and clippings as others and they are also not so well organized.
Anyway I got myself a small pile and rolled the dice of random. I ended up with number 3 - therefore I went for the third sheet of paper.
It was a clipping from a health journal of a health insurance company and ... strange enough ... it featured some Indian dishes. Did I say some? Yes, five to be exactly. Taking the number three further I decided for the third dish and it was ... dhal.
Well, that would be something to have as a side dish. Due to this fact I randomly decided to do the fish curry mentioned on that clipping as well. That is called 'Saraswat Machchi Kadhi'. I tried my Hindi dictionary on that, but gave up quickly. Then I asked the Internet and it called it Goa style fish curry. I even found the same picture of it as was used in this health magazine article.
I made sure I had all the needed ingredients and then, went for it ...

First of all I put on my Indian cooking kurta. Well, I simply declare it that one from now on. By the way, it is not the one shown in the picture above. I have a few more other ones. Why do I have so many Indian clothing to wear? Go ahead and ask me, if you like to know!
Then I put on some music from the soundtrack of a famous Indian movie ... as far as I know.
Now our Indian themed cooking party can start.
Good thing I still had some urid lentils on stock. They went into a pot covered with one centimetre of water.
Meanwhile I prepared the marinate for the fish. I squeezed one lime and mixed the juice with some freshly grated ginger, mustard powder, sesame seeds and coriander seeds. The white fish fillet was cut into small bite sized pieces and went marinating.
Before I continued with the dhal, I brought some basmati rice on the way.
Back to the dhal. I freshly picked a green chili from one of my bushes on the windowsill, cut it in half and tossed it in with the lentils. If I were to change the recipe, I would cut it into small rings and add it to the lentils. Anyway, one bay leaf, a chopped onion and two chopped cloves of garlic went in, too. Here also some grating of ginger is necessary. Some curry powder rounds it up. Now heat it up on medium heat and let it go for 20 minutes, checking every now and then and working through with a spoon.
The fish has nearly enough marinating. However, there is still some chopping of an onion to do. That one made me cry slightly. Then half four tomatoes, spoon out the seeds and then cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Now take the fish, pat it dry and fry it for 5 minutes in sesame oil at a medium heat.
Don't forget to give some attention to the rice when it's ready and to the dhal. After the 20 minutes you have to turn off the heat of the dhal.
Take out the fish from the pan and put aside. Now fry the onions in the pan.
If I hadn't already enough work with cooking I suddenly decided it would be a brilliant idea to have a cucumber raita with it all, as well. So I took some of the chopped onions and put the together with some halved slices of cucumber, cumin, salt, yogurt and water and mixed it all up.
Add some curry powder to the onions in the pan. Then add the remaining fish marinade and some 250 ml of coconut milk to the pan and bring to the boil.
What about some naan breads. Yes, that would have been lovely, but I'm not that crazy today and make some on my own. No, I even didn't buy any ready made ones to just warm up. Sadly!
Remove the green chili and the bay leaf from the dhal and heat the dhal up again, if necessary. We are almost there.
Let the tomatoes meet their destiny by adding them to the boiling coconut milk mixture. I guess the fish can go for some swimming, too. Go for it! Warm it up again.
If I'm right now, all the food is ready. You just need to plate and bowl it up and decorate everything with some fresh coriander. I already know that the remaining coriander will not survive too long in my kitchen. I should use it up in the coming days.
Here we are with the food ...

Sitting alone at the table and tasting the fish curry, memories spring to my mind. The food wasn't dangerously spicy. I still remember the fish curries of my Tamil friends and Tamil food in general. They always used to say they have to adjust the spices to the European palate. However, the first time I tasted a dish, I had the feeling it wasn't adjusted sufficiently.
Having this fish curry in front of me, I wished it would be going at least a bit in that direction. Don't get me wrong, it still tasted delicious. It was only thinking. While doing this I thought ... well, I'm sitting here all by myself eating this lovely food ... and then ... I put away the fork and went on eating as we used to do it with the best tools ever, my fingers.
Once more, I managed to end up with something lovely, doing random recipes ... and that's not cheating. After all, why should I keep any clippings with rubbish recipes.
Moreover, I ended up with fish again. This wasn't the first time either.
So far about random recipes this time. Time and again, I thought about cooking through one cookbook. After all, I nearly baked myself already through a book about French bread.
Now I have a few books in mind I seriously want to choose one from and go completely through it and report about it here on my blog. One of the books on that list is 'Tasting India' from Christine Manfield (Christian and Christine?). That post now made me hungry for that book. However, things haven't been decided in the final and I won't start before April.
In the meantime I still have a voting going on my Facebook page. If you don't mind, please head over there one time and give your vote. That would be very much appreciated. You can also suggest other books to make it more interesting.
You see, once more, it came all together ... strangely ... as last time. India was on my mind and suddenly it's all India!
Any thoughts? Just leave a lovely comment!


  1. mmmmm... curried fish is, I think, a greatly misunderstood and undercooked thing... I adore it as it's so light and so fresh which is always nice in a curry... yours looks very very good and is a brilliant rand recipes entry, thank you so much... love the new-look blog too, looking very sophisticated! x

    1. Thanks a lot! Nice to get some feedback. I always get some healthy and delicious meals with random recipes. It's one of my favourites.

  2. Mhhh looks so yummy!!!
    Have a nice week

    1. Thank you! I think I can do that for a change. Have a nice week as well, Manu!

  3. Never mind the fish curry dhal is one of my favourite foods and yours looks delicious. Love your Kurta and that you have adopted one for cooking in. Your new blog style is looking good too. Random recipes is a great way to break the routine and get us cooking something different. I haven't selected anything yet - must get onto it.

    1. Well, you could also have aloo gobi or aloo palak with it or ... anyway, thank you, it was an enjoyable meal. Glad, you like the new blog style.
      I'm sue you also come up with something randomly good ... What could go wrong?

  4. Great story, I love the idea of having a themed dinner party for one. Indian food is my favourite, and dhal in particular is my idea of true comfort food. Thanks for sharing these lovely recipes.

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I get in the mood and have to this themed thing, whether I have still the chance to invite someone over or not.


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