seafood

Old is gold….

Yudhika's Durban inspired menu....inspired by the old days!

Yudhika’s Durban inspired menu….inspired by the old days!

A trip down memory lane is what inspired my last Mela menu! It all started when I came across a rather vintage set of AMC pots that were from the 70’s. My mom also had a set but this set was a little older. These pots are always part of my kitchen memories. They were so flash in their day that serving dishes were hardly ever used in my home and it is still the same for me today!

BEFORE:

The vintage AMC lids and knobs

The vintage AMC lids and knobs

A very vintage set of AMC cookware...ready to be sent of for a 'spit and polish'

A very vintage set of AMC cookware…ready to be sent of for a ‘spit and polish’

AFTER:

The AMC lid after repolishing...

The AMC lid after repolishing…

As good as new or even better!  The AMC set after re-polishing!

As good as new or even better! The AMC set after re-polishing!

The various sized cookware were re-named in an Indian household and I am sure that some of my Indian followers will relate to the ‘rice pot’, ‘breyani pot’ and ‘fish curry pot’ – all names to describe the pots in the AMC range…and there was also a ‘dhall pot’. Kaye and Tamsyn from AMC Cookware looked quite puzzled when I mentioned these names during a meeting! And I am slowly learning to call them by their ‘good names’ like 30cm gourmet roaster, 24cm high, etc.

I was first tempted to leave the vintage set of AMC as is but asked Kaye and the AMC team to do an AMC overhaul! The pots arrived and I couldn’t believe that they looked brand spanking new…after over forty years of service! Looking at the old style handles and knobs on the lids, is like tripping all over food memory lane! I mentioned the names that the cookware is given in an Indian home…and to celebrate old fashioned food, I did a Mela menu inspired by my childhood.

Yudhika cooking up a storm on Mela!

Yudhika cooking up a storm on Mela!

We lived in Isipingo and for a while we lived in Isipingo Beach. My grandfather was a keen fisherman and loved to take my cousins and I on fishing trips! I even had my own fishing rod! My gran would pack a picnic basket and we would be off for the day. The best part of the fishing trip would be to get home and my mom would season the catch of the day with red chilli, salt and a light sprinkling of turmeric. This was the best fried fish ever! Sometimes she would also prepare a devilishly hot fish curry cooked with tamarind and tomatoes.

On the Mela menu for the week….Durban Fish Curry cooked in my AMC fish pot and Soji Balls! Soji Balls are ones of my favourite childhood treats and when I spotted a tray of them at a prayer, I swear I would pray would one eye open! They were hard to resist and every time us kids attended a prayer, we couldn’t help thinking of the treats that would come our way!

North or South Indian, it didn’t matter….almost every fish curry in Durban is cooked the same way! Some recipes remain untouched by language, caste and religion. The secret to a good fish curry is fresh fish, an AMC pot that cooks the fish in one layer and the most ripe tomatoes…in summer I use fresh ‘jam’ tomatoes that are over-ripe and in Winter I opt for tinned tomatoes that gives you super ripe juicy tomatoes all year round! I must admit that I sometimes use them in Summer too! I love a few shortcuts! If you missed Mela over the weekend and would like to take a look at my step by step video, click here to watch https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-durban-fish-curry-and-soji-balls/

Here’s the fish curry recipe just how I remember it….

Durban Fish Curry by Yudhika Sujanani

Durban Fish Curry by Yudhika Sujanani

Durban Fish Curry

Serves 4

750g firm fish steaks
60ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
6 cloves garlic, crushed
5ml crushed ginger
30ml red chilli powder
800g tomatoes, blanched and chopped – I use tinned tomatoes sometimes
10ml ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
2ml turmeric
30ml tamarind
125ml boiled water
Pinch of sugar
Curry leaves and coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC pot.
Add the mustard seeds and once the begin to pop.
Add the cumin seeds and fry until the sizzle and turn a shade darker.
Stir the onion and salt into the oil.
Saute the onions until they turn golden brown – I also add a few curry leaves to get the aromas going!
Add the crushed garlic and ginger and fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
Stir the red chilli powder into the oil and fry for 3 – 5 seconds, then add the tomatoes.
Add the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric and simmer the sauce until the tomatoes form a smooth paste – use the back of a wooden spoon to break down the lumps.
While the tomatoes are simmering, dissolve the tamarind in boiling water – if you are using tamarind with seeds, you will have to strain the liquid to remove the fibres and seeds.
When the tomatoes have cooked down and are completely soft, add the tamarind and then place the fish steaks into the sauce.
Poach the steaks in the sauce and simmer on a very low heat until the sauce has thickened – the cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish steaks.
Sprinkle in a little sugar to balance the sharpness and acidity of the tomatoes.
Garnish with fresh curry leaves and coriander.
Serve with rice or roti.

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Something fishy…

Old fashioned Durban fish cakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Old fashioned Durban fish cakes by Yudhika Sujanani

Food is like time travel – I always say that and a recipe like this does transport me to my childhood in Durban.  Aromas would waft out the kitchen and I would soak up warm scented air.  My gran would make up a batch of these and it would be served at special occasions.  She never measured anything…and never missed a beat with her cooking.  She was like a magician, just adding a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that and miraculously she would turn out the most delicious meals.

 

During my childhood I noticed that men and women didn’t hang out together at functions.  The women congregated in the kitchen and the men would sit outside.  The men would make frequent trips to the ‘car boot’ which was where the booze was stashed.  Nobody ever real boozed openly – Boozing was man business and they left the cooking  and child minding up to the women folk!  Makes you think about how much things have changed!

 

For this recipe, I used tinned middle cut mackerel.  Tinned fish was never popular in our home and only acceptable in fish cake format.  I like these fish cakes super spicy, but reduce the green chilli for a milder version.  Do you remember these from your childhood.

 

I cooked these in an AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan.  If you are a little nervous about the cakes falling apart and sticking to the pan, start out by lightly greasing the skillet with a slick on non stick spray.  Then heat up the sunflower oil, and fry the cakes until golden brown.  The non stick spray is just a little ‘insurance policy’! I did a more summery fish cake recipe on Mela just recently using steamed hake and then baked them instead of frying.  Check out the video here, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2015/01/26/mela-summer-sizzler-fish-cakes/ – you can also head over to the Mela facebook page for the latest recipes.

 

 

I featured this recipe a few weeks ago in the Post Newspaper, don’t forget to pick up your copy and enter the AMC competition!

 

Fish Cakes

Makes 16

 

Ingredients

 

2 x 410g tins middle cut Mackerel

500g potatoes, boiled in skin

1 onion, finely chopped

10ml crushed garlic

60g coriander, chopped

8 green chillies, finely chopped

10ml ground cumin

10ml ground coriander

5ml salt

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

 

 

1 egg, lightly beaten

Bread crumbs, to coat

 

Sunflower oil, to shallow fry cakes

 

Lemon wedges, to serve

 

Here’s how:

 

Drain off the liquid from the tinned Mackerel.

Place the pieces in a mixing bowl.

Scrape the fish to remove the dark meat of the mackerel and the bones as well.

Rinse lightly under a slow trickle of running water to wash away little bones.

Flake the fish into a mixing bowl.

Skin the potatoes and grate them into the bowl.

Add the garlic, fresh coriander and green chillies.

Sprinkle the powdered spices into the mixture.

Season with salt, add the egg and the egg yolk.

Mix well to combine.

Mould the mixture into little patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Refrigerate the fish cakes until firm – this takes about an hour.

Dip the cakes into the beaten egg and toss them in bread crumbs to coat.

Heat an AMC 28cm Chefs Pan and once hot, spray over a thin layer of non stick spray, then pour in sunflower oil.

Fry the cakes in batches until they are golden brown.

Serve hot with lemon wedges and dipping sauces.

 

 

Fong Kong Breyani with Fish and Prawn

Fish and Prawn Breyani

Fish and Prawn Breyani

I don’t eat enough fish…sad but true! So this is me making an attempt…

This is my latest quick and easy breyani recipe – it’s also become known as the FONG KONG Breyani!!! The old-fashioned way was to steam the raw fish with the rice…sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes the fish turns into mush….this FONG KONG style ensures that it will be perfect…aromatic, appetizing and beautifully presented.

Most of my favourite fish choices are either on the red or orange list. Check the SASSI website for more details…you will be surprised to find some of our old favourites like Englishman, Red Roman and Mussel Cracker on the list! So buy fish on the ‘Green List’! I have opted to use fresh hake….it is seriously good, reasonably priced and always available! To ‘tart up’ the hake, I ‘shoshen’ sauteed prawns over just before serving.

Nothing beats a good pot for making breyani…a FONG KONG pot just won’t do. That would be asking for trouble. For me, I haul out a rather large AMC pot, to cook up a super large batch…we sometimes have neighbors to feed!

Here is the recipe:

Fish and Prawn Breyani

1kg linefish steaks
15ml red chilli powder
Salt to season
1kg prawn tails
Sunflower oil to fry fish and prawns
4 potatoes, sliced into rounds and fried
65ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
20ml crushed garlic
30ml red chilli powder
400g chopped tomatoes
10ml ground cumin
10ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
125ml fresh cream
250ml cooked lentils
900ml cooked basmati rice, cooled
100g butter, melted
250ml boiling water
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Rub the red chilli and salt over the fish steaks and leave to marinate in the refrigerator.
Heat the sunflower oil, add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
When the spices are fragrant, add the cumin seeds.
Once the seeds splutter, add the onion and salt.
Saute until the onion is light golden brown.
Stir in the crushed garlic, stir for a few seconds, then add the red chilli powder.
Add the chopped tomatoes followed by ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften.
Add the fresh cream, layer the potatoes and halt the lentils over the tomatoes.
Next add the cold basmati rice and the remaining lentils.
Drizzle in the melted butter and pour the boiling water over the rice.
Steam on low until the rice heats through.
Heat the sunflower oil and fry the fish until golden brown.
Place the fish steaks over the rice and cover.
Lastly heat 30ml sunflower oil and saute the prawn tails for a minute just before serving.
Season the prawns with salt and scatter them over the rice.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and leave to infuse for a minute.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.