Tandoori Salmon

Last week I tried Indian food for the first time – and it was delicious!! I like trying new cuisines because you discover new, flavorful recipes that you can adjust to your comfort level, your OHI, and your desired healthy-ness. ūüôā

The original recipe I started from was really difficult to read, because instead of separating all the ingredients for each component, it listed everything together at the top. It’s too much math for me. It makes my head hurt – I would not recommend it! ūüėČ

So since I changed a few things, and I want to make it easier for you to follow (and myself for next time!!) I’m going to outline it more clearly below.

OVERVIEW:¬†I started marinating in the morning, somewhere around 9:30AM, and let it sit in the fridge until one hour before cooking time (3:30), at which point I took it out and ‘massaged’ the yogurt marinade into the fish. I put it back in the fridge for 1 hour and then removed to cook in the oven – at which point I finished the accompanying sides, as well as the raita (kind of like an Indian version of a tzatziki). Cooking time is 20-25 minutes.
Equipment: You will need a food processor (although you could probably substitute a blender here), a large sheet pan, tin foil, and a medium sized bowl for the raita.
1 1/2 – 2 lb Salmon, skin off
Marinade #1:
1/2 thumb ginger (a portion about half the size of your thumb), peeled & roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 Tblspn Paprika
1 1/2 Tblspn Olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tblspn kosher salt
1 Tblspn white vinegar
Marinade #2:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp dried bay leaf
2 thin slices of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 small cucumber, quartered and sliced
1 TBLspn minced parsley or cilantro
1 tsp garam masala
Dash black pepper
Dash salt
Sprinkle of paprika

Start with salmon, skin off. Cover a sheet pan with tin foil and set aside. Put the salmon on your raw meats cutting board, skin-side up (I know, I said you need skin off. So what I mean is, the side the skin USED to be on should be up. So from here on out when I say “skin side”, know I mean “the side the skin was removed from”).

Peel and roughly chop about 1/2 thumb of ginger and 3 large garlic cloves. Add to food processor. Add 1/4c water and turn on. Then add, while still on, 3/4 Tblspn Paprika, 1 TBLspn white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar), 3/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 Tblspn Kosher salt, and 1 1/4 Tblspn Olive oil. Turn off; scrape down the side of the processor and turn on again to be sure it is well mixed. 

Spread this mixture over the skin-side of the salmon. Then transfer it to the sheet pan, skin-side down, and spread the rest over the top of the salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least one hour or as long as overnight.
*TIP: If you have the full salmon fillet, you probably have a thinner side and a thicker side. Distribute the marinade accordingly. I put too much marinade on the thin side so that it was almost inedible. We had to scrape some off!

Apparently this is the only picture I got of the salmon (except an ugly one of my messy plate). This is what it looks like after the first marinade, before the fridge!

Apparently this is the only picture I got of the salmon (except an ugly one of my messy plate). This is what it looks like after the first marinade, before the fridge!

About 2 hours before you want to eat, start the yogurt marinade. It will probably take 20 minutes or so. (If you have time in the morning, you can probably also make this AND the raita all at once, since they use a lot of the same ingredients. Just be sure to put in the fridge until serving time since they contain yogurt.) Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Take the salmon out of the fridge and massage this into the salmon. You will end up mixing the previous marinade with this one. That’s fine. I don’t like to get a whole lot of messy, but this takes a little bit of mess ūüėČ Again be careful that the thinner side of your fillet has a thinner layer of marinade on it. Place salmon back in fridge for 1 hour.

Next make the raita by combining the ingredients except for cucumber and paprika in a medium bowl. Add the cucumber last and stir. Sprinkle the paprika over top for flavor and color.

30 minutes before dinner time, preheat the oven to 500¬ļ and remove the salmon from the fridge. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

I served the salmon with Indian BBQ cauliflower which I steamed instead of roasted, because I forgot to get fresh РI only had frozen. I reduced to 1 cup ketchup and used honey instead of sugar. Next time I will reduce to 1 TBLspn honey, because while it was really good, it was also really sweet. We also had brown rice mixed with melted coconut oil.

This salmon was so delicious. It eased me into Indian cuisine. Next time I will probably add more spices (like the cloves and cardamom the original recipe called for). I will also probably try tandoori CHICKEN, now that I know what tandoori means ūüėČ Again, the great thing about trying new cuisine is learning new ways to cook things, new ways to impart flavor, and new spice combinations. Who would’ve thought cinnamon would go with salmon?! Indian flavors are really warm and I can’t wait to cook with them again!!

Sorry it's so messy. I couldn't wait to try it and forgot to get a pretty picture. Just know that it was TASTY!

Sorry it’s so messy. I couldn’t wait to try it and forgot to get a pretty picture. Just know that it was TASTY!

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

The smell of fish cooking reminds me of vacations in Florida visiting my grandparents. My grandpa out on the screened-in porch grilling, maybe simultaneously smoking a cigar, while Mom and Grandma chatting away while prepping a side dish or two in the kitchen. And us helping set the dining table.

These are the memories that flooded my head as I grilled up some Mahi Mahi yesterday night – indoors, on my grill pan,¬†while outside the window there was gray¬†40¬ļ weather. Different setting altogether. But I could care less, because the memories and that SMELL transported me and made me so happy!

This is one of those meals, because of those early marriage cooking days, that I look at and think, “Did I do that?!”

I usually pull from a recipe but adjust it a little. In this case I pulled from multiple recipes, so contrary to my normal posts, I will be including the actual recipe for you.

Let’s start with the salsa, because that’s what I prepped ahead of time.
1 mango, chopped
1/4 diced red onion
4-5 strips of red pepper, diced
1/4 cup or so cooked sweet corn (I used the microwavable frozen kind –OHI– but I’m sure fresh off the cob would be even better)
Juice from half a lime
Dash salt

Combine all ingredients and stir. Adjust to taste. Easy! I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well, here’s an opportunity¬†to explain my view of kid-friendly. To me, kid-friendly means the meal is prepared in bite-size, easy to eat portions. It can also mean adjusting to their spice tolerance. Next time, per my daughter’s request, I will add yellow and orange peppers. Maybe even omit the red, or just use less, because as she pointed out, the yellow and orange are sweeter. Another change I might make: substituting yellow or white onion, and maybe even lightly saut√©ing them with the peppers before adding to the salsa. But for adults, this original recipe was PERFECT.

‘Blackened’ spices for Mahi Mahi
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorn
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lite coconut milk

Again, combine all ingredients except coconut milk and make a paste. Just before using, add the coconut milk. It will look like a vinaigrette.

You can use a pastry brush to spread this on your fish (1.25 lbs Mahi Mahi). I dipped the first piece and then just used my finger to spread it. That’s how we do in my kitchen ūüėČ

Now I have to make a side note. I opened the package from the meat counter and realized I forgot to ask them to take the skin off the Mahi. AHHHHHH! I don’t have a filet knife. I’ve never really even learned how to de-skin a fish. (Is that even the right term? I’m sure there’s a more professional culinary term for this but it escapes me at the moment.)¬†Did I panic with the clock tick tick ticking away the time until dinner? Mm. I chose to keep my head and just do it myself. So out came my raw meats cutting board and my paring knife (the best substitution I had). I tried to remember what I’ve ever seen of someone de-skinning a fish on TV. I put one hand on top of the skin and wiggled the knife underneath, to the point of being afraid I was going to slice my upper hand open. Once I had a good portion of the skin off, I started to pull it up so I¬†had a better view¬†underneath it. ¬†Amazingly, I didn’t cut myself at all, the whole time. And I didn’t even butcher them too badly. (I SWEAR, no pun intended. I literally thought this last night when I stood back and surveyed my work.)

So! Now for the cooking. Heat your grill pan over medium high heat. Spray with a non-stick cooking spray. **One thing I’ve learned from watching cooking show after¬†cooking show is when you are using a grill pan, MAKE SURE IT’S PIPING HOT before you put anything on it, otherwise your stuff will stick. You’ve been warned.**¬†¬†Place your fish on the grill and cook for “approximately 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.” That’s what the recipe said that I based this on. It worked, the fish was SO DELICIOUS. My 5 year old daughter even said, “MOM! You’re right. I DO like this fish! The inside… it’s so moist … and juicy!”

2 cups dry brown Minute rice
1 1/4 cup lite coconut milk
1 1/2 cup water

Soak your rice in water to remove some of the starchiness, if desired. (Again, this is what the recipe told me to do – but she was using long grain rice and I was using minute rice. I did do it, and I think it did actually help remove some of the dry starchiness, especially since I was using brown rice.) Put the coconut milk and water in your pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook according to package directions. Actually, the package said to bring back to boil, simmer for 5 minutes, and let stand for 5 minutes. I probably let it cook more like 7-10, let it stand, and then reheated it a teensy bit before I plated it. One thing: KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THIS! Any time I’m boiling milk I pay extra attention, but last night was one of those times that couldn’t be helped… Some of the kids were arguing, or someone got hurt, and I swear even though I only walked away for 90 seconds, my pot was suddenly boiling over. Anyway just watch it, because I had to keep removing the lid to release some steam so it wouldn’t boil over again. (And that’s even using my awesome “sure simmer” function on my electric¬†oven. Yes I love it.)

Guess what? I had the coconut milk, corn, and rice in my OHI, so all I paid for this dinner was probably $10-11. Score!

Now! Spoon some rice onto your plate, top it with a piece of Mahi, and spoon some salsa on top. Done! Now go feed your family some surprisingly easy, joyfully affordable, shockingly healthy, tantalizingly delicious and fresh food!