As I have mentioned many times before, we are all seafood lovers in our family. My son when he was younger, he loved to stick his nose inside the fresh seafood counter over at the Asian supermarket. He loves the smell of seafood so much 🙂 We usually get different varieties of fish and also shrimp. Crabs and lobsters are much rarer since they require some amount of work. One thing we have been getting more of lately is squid. We love it fried – Fried calamari. And you may recall a few months ago I made a grain free, paleo version of fried calamari with shredded coconut which was awesome. I have also made a gluten free chick pea batter version of fried calamari before. And then I make a spicy sauté Kerala style with red chillies and coconut chips.
Today I am posting yet another way to make squid – yes you can use squid and calamari interchangeably they mean one and the same thing! Calamari is the Italian name for squid. This recipe uses grated coconut and yet it has a fairly moderate amount of heat using red chillies and black pepper. There is slight tanginess to this dish which is brought on by the addition of Kodampuli (Kokum) which is a special kind of sour dried fruit. If you cannot get your hands on this ingredient, substitute some lime/lemon juice in its place.
Btw, I feel so lucky that I do not need to clean the squid since it comes already cleaned here where I purchase it from. If your squid does not come like that, you can look up videos on youtube where they show you how to clean it. Do try this recipe and let me know how you like it!
Squid Stir fry with coconut (Koonthal thoran)
Tasty Squid/Calamari spicy stir fried with aromatic spices and fresh grated coconut.
Main Course, Side Dish
1pound (lb)squid, cleaned
1 tbspchopped garlic
1 tbspchopped ginger
2no.green chilliesslit length-wise
4-5no.fresh curry leaves
1tspred chilli powder (cayenne pepper)or as needed
2tsp fennel powderfreshly roasted
1/2 tspsaltor as needed
1cupgrated coconutfresh or frozen(thawed)
1no.kodampuli (kokum)soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 10 mins
1tspblack pepper powderfreshly powdered
Cut the squid into 1/2 inch thin rounds. Remove as much water as possible from them using paper towels.
Heat the coconut oil in a medium size kadai (wok style pan) and add the sliced onions. Stir for 1 minute.
Add the chopped garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves and stir for 2 mins.
Now add all the spice powders and salt. Add the squid pieces and stir to coat the squid with all the onion and spice mixture. Cover with a lid and let cook for about 5 mins on medium heat.
Open lid and add the grated coconut and the kodampuli(kokum) and its water. Also add the black pepper powder and stir well. Cover and cook for another 5 mins on low heat.
Now open lid and cook uncovered stirring occasionally for another 5 mins or so until very little water is left. Turn heat off. Drizzle fresh coconut oil on top before serving.
If you don't have Kodampuli(kokum), you can use a dash of lemon juice instead for tanginess.
Dill is one herb (the only one perhaps) that I took a long time to appreciate. May be because it was not available in western India where I grew up. And Dill being so different from some of the other herbs that I was used to like cilantro and mint, it took a while before I started appreciating its fragrance and flavor. One of my close friends is originally from Iran and she makes a delicious Lima beans Pilaf where Dill flavor is predominant. That was my first exposure to Dill and that first time I wasn’t crazy about it. But over the years I slowly started to like its strong flavor and smell.
I started first appreciating it in pickled cucumbers. I absolutely relish pickles. And now I have grown to be quite fond of it 🙂 I still won’t use it that liberally since it can be too overpowering if you overdo it but every now and then I like to get a fresh bunch and use it sparingly in salads and baked potatoes etc. A few weeks ago I found a large bunch in our local farmer’s market and was tempted to pick it up. At that time I didn’t know what I would make with it but it somehow had such a fresh and refreshing smell that I had to bring it to my kitchen!
And then the next day as I got the Salmon out of the freezer, the idea of making a sauce popped in my head. And knowing me you won’t be surprised that I decided to make a coconut based sauce, kind of like a chutney using coconut, lemon juice and dill. So glad I did! I was thinking of baking the salmon but last minute decided to just do a quick pan fry. The dish was just perfect – the crispy salmon and the creamy coconut dill flavored chutney was like a marriage made in heaven! Mmm…Mmm good!
Pan fried Salmon, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served with a delicious creamy coconut and dill chutney
2 salmon filets (about 6-8 oz each)
About 2 tbsp Coconut or Olive Oil for pan frying
Marinade for salmon:
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper pow (I used kashmiri chill powder which is mild)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
For the coconut dill chutney:
½ cup grated coconut or coconut pieces(fresh or frozen)
¼ cup fresh dill
1 green chili (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
¼ cup hot water
Thaw the salmon and remove any scales from the skin side. Pat dry using paper towels.
In a small mixing bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients.
Apply marinade paste to the salmon filets and keep aside for 15-30 mins.
In a food processor, blend all the chutney ingredients until creamy and fine.
Heat a frying pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the marinated salmon pieces. Cook for about 2 mins on medium high heat. Flip and cook on the other side for about 2 mins more. Transfer to a dish.
Serve Salmon with coconut dill chutney on top!
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper and green chili.
Being a Keralan at heart, I always loved eating fish and all seafood. So incredibly tasty! And also so light on the stomach. This is the best part now on my Paleo diet. I eat fish 80% of the time for my protein and hence I am constantly looking out for new recipes. Well I have quite a bit of a stash of Kerala fish recipes but still any new fish recipe I see, I must try it! The recipe I am sharing today was developed due to that. I watched some youtube videos of street food vendors making fish fry and I saw one recipe that sent me salivating at midnight!
Fish first marinated in a mint and cilantro green masala and then deep fried by coating in a thick flour batter. All though mouthwatering, I needed to test grain free alternatives to flour. So the first time I tried by using tapioca starch. the coating was crispy however it didn’t hold well and came off easily. So this second time around, I decided to use cassava flour (which is also tapioca flour but it has all the fiber retained in it and hence its texture is different from tapioca starch which is more like corn starch). I added a bit of tapioca starch too to give some additional crispiness.
Pleased to present the recipe for Dhaba Style Masala Fish fry – paleo version! For non-paleo version, you can use all purpose flour, rice flour or chick pea flour for the batter
Dhaba Style Green Masala Fish Fry (Herbed Spicy Fish Fritters)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Crispy Spicy Fried Fish (Fish fritters) made by marinating fish first in a blend of herbs and spices and then frying it after coating with cassava flour batter
About 1 and ½ pounds fish (or fish filets) - Any fish is ok -I used cod fish
For the marinade masala:
8-10 fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 green chili
2 cloves of garlic
½ inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
2 tbsp cassava flour (I used Anthony's Goods)
1 tsp Tapioca flour
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
3-4 tbsp water
Coconut Oil for frying
Cut the fish into medium size pieces (about 1 inch by 2 inches). Dab dry and keep aside.
Grind all ingredients listed under marinade to a paste. (It will be slightly coarse that's ok)
In a bowl add the fish pieces and the marinade and using your hands coat fish pieces well with marinade. Keep aside at room temperature for unto 30 mins or in the fridge if longer than that (up to 3 hours)
Fry fish just before serving. In a small bowl, mix all the batter ingredients and stir to get a thick batter.
Heat a frying pan with the coconut oil (you can either deep fry or shallow fry - i prefer shallow frying as it takes less oil)
Dip each fish piece in the batter coating it well on all sides and place in hot oil. Repeat with all the pieces. Fry the fish for about 2 -3 mins on each side until crispy on the outside flipping carefully to turn.
Serve fried fish immediately!
For non-paleo version, you can use all purpose flour, rice flour or chick pea flour for the batter Cut the fish pieces or the filets such that they are at least ½ inch thick.
I recently started eating Flounder and I love its delicate flavor and its soft, flaky texture. Since it doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, it can easily take in the flavor of the marinade the you cook it in. So I have been experimenting cooking it with different spices. It tastes great just pan fried by marinating it lightly with cayenne pepper, salt and turmeric. A few weeks ago I decided to make these the same way as the ‘Crispy Chicken Bites’ I make with Indian and Asian flavors. Lots of ginger and garlic, along with cayenne and soy sauce (or coconut aminos). Lightly coated with tapioca starch and pan fried to get crispy, spicy fish nuggets!
So glad I decided to experiment – these crispy fish bites are so tasty! They can be perfect as an appetizer or pair it with a salad like I do for a complete meal. My family also loves to just eat it along side our Indian traditional meal of Rice and Dal.
OK so ever since I made those beef cutlets with a coconut crust, I have been thinking of using that technique to make other crispy coatings! I got my chance to try it again when hubby picked up squid last weekend while picking up seafood.
I usually cook squid(calamari) Kerala Style which is to sauté it with onion and red chillies and with coconut. I have posted that recipe before. Have also tried frying it using chickpea batter which is a great gluten free alternative. However now since I am on a paleo diet, chickpea batter wouldn’t do and so I thought why not give my tapioca flour batter and coconut crust technique a try? The ‘paleo version’ of the beef cutlets was very well received in my house. It tasted even better than the breaded version!
So considering that I was pretty confident that the fried calamari with coconut crust would work. And I wasn’t disappointed! The fried coconut calamari came out so nice and crispy plus the shredded coconut topping imparted such great flavor. I also ended up shallow frying it using coconut oil vs deep frying. It still came out nice and crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. Perfecto 🙂
I added a bit of cayenne pepper (Kashmiri red chili powder) but you can skip that for an AIP compliant recipe.
A Paleo version of the 'Fried Calamari' - Crispy coconut crusted Calamari fried in coconut oil!
½ lb squid, cleaned and cut into ¼ inch rounds
¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (skip for AIP version)
¼ tsp sea salt
For the crust
2 tbsp tapioca flour
3 tbsp water
4 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (I used 'Let's do Organic' brand)
About 2 tbsp coconut oil
In a small bowl, add the cleaned calamari and dab dry with paper towels. Add the chills powder(if adding) and salt and mix well. Keep aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the tapioca flour with water to from a slurry. (This settles down very fast so again stir before using)
Place the shredded coconut in a separate plate.
Heat a small frying pan and add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Keep on medium heat and when hot, dip the squid pieces one by one in the tapioca slurry and then dip them in the coconut to coat completely and drop these one by one into the frying pan. Fry these in batches and serve hot!