Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tandoori Tilapia with Coconut Basmati Rice and Cucumber Yogurt Salad

This meal comes together very quickly...you just need to marinate the fish for 2 hours in advance of broiling, and marinate the onions for the salad one hour before finishing the salad. The key is not to rely on measuring too much. Take the recipes and really just tailor them to your preferences.
The fish stays nice and moist in it's coating of yogurt marinade and it also chars a bit under the broiler just like tandoori chicken might in a wood-fired Tandoor oven.
You could make plain rice, but why? All you do is dump all these goodies in a rice cooker and you've got this lovely golden coconut rice.
My directions/amounts are based on using the cooker, but I'm sure you clever people can adapt it to stovetop. And, don't feel like you have to use all the stuff I used in the rice. It'd be great just using coconut milk, tumeric, and dried fruit (raisins, craisins, dried cherries...).

Tandoori-Marinated Tilapia:

I only used 2 large filets that came to just under a lb., but the marinade makes enough for more fish than that. We just don't happen to like leftover fishies the next day. :-)

1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons garam masala (such as McCormick)
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 (6-ounce) tilapia, or other firm whitefish fillets

Combine first 10 ingredients in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (or a large ziplock bag...wasteful, wasteful Erin!), stirring with a whisk (or smooshing in the bag, thus saving yourself a pan AND a whisk to wash!). Add fish, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours.

Preheat broiler.

Remove fish from dish; discard marinade. I left a nice coat of marinade on the fish. Place fish on a baking sheet lined with foil and coated with cooking spray. Broil ~10 minutes or until fish is firm to the touch with a fork, turning once. If you can only find smaller filets, be careful not to overcook them.

Cucumber Yogurt Salad:

1/2 cup red onion, thinly vertically sliced
juice of one lemon (~2 Tbs)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garam masala
~1-1/2 cups diced English cucumber
~1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
~1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt (I love White Mountain Bulgarian yogurt, and used a combination of the fat-free and whole milk yogurts here)
freshly ground black pepper

Place the onion, lemon juice, salt, and garam masala in a small bowl. Cover and set aside (no need to refrigerate) for one hour.
Add remaining ingredients and serve.

Coconut Basmati Rice:

It's been AGES since I've made white rice! And, the only reason I didn't make brown rice tonight was because...*GASP*...we were out! This was really yummy though, and I'm not sure it would have been as tender made with brown rice. I'm definately trying it next time though.
Try sauteing some raw cashews in ghee until golden and adding them at the end. I thought about doing this, but was too lazy to dirty another pot. :-)

You can see the rice and salad better on this plate, but the fish broke apart a little coming off the sheet pan, so it didn't get top billing. :-)

2 rice cooker scoops of basmati rice
1/2+ cup coconut milk
a healthy 1/2 tsp tumeric
a 2" stick of cinnamon
5-6 whole cardamom pods (try not to eat these...they're very potent :-)
a handful of dried cranberries
1/2+ tsp salt
~1 Tbs. ghee or butter
optional: handful of sauteed raw cashews

Throw in the rice through salt, then add water up to a little over the first hash mark on a rice cooker.
When rice is done, fluff with a paddle and add ~1 Tbs ghee/butter. Keep warm until fish is ready.

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