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.
Fish Fry is as important to a Keralite as water is to fish. I apologize if I have said this before in my posts but this is so true! Rice, Daal with a side of spicy pan fried fish was a very common fare growing up and thankfully due to my ‘fish’loving’ husband, it is quite common in our kitchen too! But Mr is very particular about how he likes his fish fry and he likes to keep it simple – just some salt,turmeric and red chili powder for the marinade and then the pan frying also has to be perfect – on low heat to yield perfectly cooked on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside! And as you can guess, I readily outsourced this process a.k.a ritual to him very early on after our marriage. Hey why mess with the expert 🙂
I just realized that I never posted this simple recipe here before. I did recently do a video of it as one of our friends was asking us about it. Here is the link to that – Simple Fish Fry:
Anyways sorry I digressed..today’s post is about me trying something new with fish fry. Yes it was a risk I took ! What if hubby didn’t like it? But since these days I am eating lots of fish being on a paleo diet, I wanted to try something new. I recently was browsing Chettinad style chicken recipes on youtube when I also came across chettinad style fish fry. I was instantly motivated to try this since the flavors of fennel and ginger -garlic in the marinade sounded wonderful!
I tried this recipe with Salmon although you can use any other fish too. In fact it turned out very good and I am going to try it with cod fish next! I also think I will try baking the fish next time to get the full flavor of this masala. I absolutely love this marinade masala and I have plans to use them in many other dishes in the future – loads of possibilities:)
6 -8 pieces of Salmon filet or any other fish (about 1 1/2 lbs of fish), cleaned, scales removed
For the marinade:
6-8 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 of a small red onion or 2-3 pearl onions
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp red chilli powder (1 for mild hot and 2 for hot)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil for pan frying
3-4 fresh curry leaves
Pat dry the fish pieces with paper towels and place in a plate/tray.
In a small heating pan, add the whole peppercorns, cumin and fennel and lightly roast them on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes until you get the aroma of the spices. Turn heat off and transfer spices to a blender/food processor. To the same blender, add the rest of the marinade ingredients and blend till you get a smooth paste. Transfer paste to a bowl.
Coat each fish on both sides with the thick marinade paste and place back on plate. Finish coating all pieces this way. (You can freeze or refrigerate any remaining paste). Let fish marinate for 15- 30 minutes.
For pan frying, heat a large non stick frying pan adding the oil. When hot, add the curry leaves and fry them for a minute. Take them out and keep aside for garnishing. To the hot oil, add the fish pieces and cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Make sure you cook the fish on medium heat (not very high) – you don’t need to cover the pan.
Transfer to a plate. Serve with sliced onions and lemon and the fried curry leaves!