Somehow,whenever I am in kitchen,my indian roots always influence the recipes I cook in there.Infact, whatever cuisine may be,I can’t stop my hands from using indian spices and techniques.Its kind of funny sometimes when I add kashmiri red chilli powder to sandwich spreads for that tang or I fry italian zucchini coated in besan [chickpea flour] or add a pinch of turmeric to japanese tempura or garam masala to chinese sauces [yes I do it :)] or add fennel seeds to pancake mixture!And the best part is that all such antics are undelibrate and come very naturally.As a habit I tend to reach the masaldaan [indian spice box] and do such weird things!!! I think this is how it was born when some adventurous cooks while trying to suit the food to their palate came up with the middle path ..the fusion cooking!! It’s the ‘thing’ these days and unknowingly it comes to each one of us!
The other day my mexican neighbour said that authentic mexican food is “rare” in USA and they hardly eat it outside their home.Quite surprisingly,I like that stuff which she called unauthentic!She said that all the sour creams, grated cheddar and lettuce are american additions to tacos.Infact, I also feel similar when I go to Indian restaurants out here…I would not say that they are unauthentic but the food served isn’t traditional Indian food!! Anyways …to each its own..I enjoy the american chinese,american mexican and even americanized indian food at some point or the other!So for me “fusion “food rocks!
Coming back to the salad this is how it started…the evenings are chilly now, I wanted to make fried fish for long time, but was putting it off coz I was scared of the calories that will come with deep-frying!! I was looking for healthy but high on taste options when the other day I saw Ina Garten coating her pink salmon steak with bread crumbs and pan searing the fish in 2 tablespoons of hot oil. With this basic idea in mind, I tried making this salad.
Its one of the most satisfying and healthy salads I have made at home till date.It evolved as I was making it.Flaky fish marinated in Indian spices coated with homemade garlic-cilantro bread crumbs, pan cooked and combined with sweet green lettuce and a drizzle of lemony dressing…Viola….seafood can’t get better than this!!! I cant have my fish without ginger so I have used it freely.However mellow it down as per your taste.Very nice brunch option indeed!
What I need:
- 2 boneless,skinless tilapia fillets [or any flaky white fish]
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard paste
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 cups shredded green leaf lettuce
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp ginger julians [optional]
- 2 tbsp oil
For homemade bread crumbs:
- 2 white bread slices
- 1 garlic
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- salt to taste
How I did it:
- Marinate the fish fillets with lemon juice, mustard,turmeric, chilli powder , grated ginger & salt for half and hour.
- In a food processor, pulse the bread slices, garlic and cilantro leaves till everything becomes crumb-like. Set aside.
- Once marinated, using a sharp knife, cube the fish fillets into 1″ pieces.
- In a pan , heat the oil on medium high. Throw the fish cubes over the bed of the bread crumbs and then into the hot oil.Cook the fish cubes in the oil on all sides till light brown in color. Drain the cubes on a paper towel.Set aside.
- In a small bowl mix the ingredients of dressing.
- Assembling the salad: In a big bowl, add the shredded lettuce, chopped onions & tomatoes and ginger julians [if using].Drizzle over the dressing and toss.
- Serve warm.