Thursday, 31 July 2008

RFJ: Seafood, Sesame and Cilantro - A Trilogy!

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my weird obsessiveness around the number three...

My alarm goes off at 07:09... or occasionally 06:57. I'm eternally greatful that our time system is base 60... cook for 30 seconds, 15 minutes, 45 seconds, lovely... I even make friends' coffee with three 2/3 teaspoons of coffee instead of just 2!

Now... are you still there? I'm not that weird, honest - it's just one of my little quirks ;) I can skip it if I need to... I'd just rather not!

It's not just me - Chinese people consider the number three to be lucky because it sounds like the word 'alive'. And in many other cultures, it is considered a significant number due to the trinity of mind, body and soul.

So anyway, I love that the Royal Foodie Joust has three ingredients, and this month I decided to propogate the three-love by using the three ingredients to make three fingerfoods and three dipping sauces!

The three ingredients were selected this month by Peter of Kalofagas fame, who won last month's joust with this amazing Apricot and Pistachio Cake. He chose Seafood, Sesame and Cilantro/Coriander - as soon as I read the list I knew I was going to have fun with this one!

Seafood, Sesame and Cilantro - A trilogy!

The first of the three is seared marinated tuna (in the middle!), coated with crushed coriander, szechuan pepper corns and sesame seeds. I served this with a thick tahini dressing, complete with a garlicky cilantro swirl.

Secondly, for your delectation, I present sesame-crusted squid (on the right!) with a cilantro and chili yoghurt dipping sauce.

Last, but by no means least - crispy fried wontons (on the left!) with a spicy fish and prawn mousse filling, served with sweet cilantro chili dipping sauce.

I had so much fun thinking up and making these dishes - I hope you like them!
If you like what I've done here, then head on over to the Joust forum and give me a vote ;) But even if you don't, get yourself over there to see the amazing dishes other people have created!

Seared Coriander And Sesame Crusted Tuna
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp szechaun pepper corns
  • 2 thick tuna steaks
  • ground nut oil for searing
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds (for the tahini)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Large handful cilantro
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
Marinate the Tuna...
Mix together the sesame oil, soy, rice wine and mirin with the garlic and ginger.

Cut each tuna steak into long thick strips (give 'em three, four sides or more - your call!) and add to the marinade. Coat well and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Make the Tahini Sauce...
Take the third of a cup of sesame seeds and toast in a dry pan for 3/4 minutes - being sure to keep them moving and not over-colour.

Once cooled, place them in a mini-blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add the EV olive oil until the sauce is still really thick but not like glue!

Add the lemon juice, 1 tsp rice wine, 1 clove of garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Blend again - it should now be a pourable texture (if not add a little water to loosen).

Make the Cilantro Swirl...
In the mini-blender (time-saving secret - I didn't bother washing mine from the tahini ;) place the cilantro, garlic and lemon zest and blend til smooth. Add olive oil until it reaches a pourable consistency.

Put the Sauce Together...
Put the tahini sauce into the serving dish, then add a dollop of blended cilantro. Attempt some swirly things... probably twice... (I had hoped this was going to come out more 'cheffy' than this - but it wasn't to be! ;)

Cook the Tuna...
Once the tuna has finished marinating, remove it from the fridge.

Pound the coriander seeds and szechuan together until coarsely ground. Place this mixture onto one plate - and the toasted sesame seeds onto another.

Remove the tuna from the marinade and coat each length in either the sesame seeds or the spice mix.

Heat a little oil in a very hot pan, and sear the tuna for no more than a minute on each side - the centre should still be very pink!

Slice the tuna and arrange on serving dish with the tahini cilantro dipping sauce.

Sesame Squid With Cilantro Yoghurt Dip
  • 1 medium squid, cleaned
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted and cooled
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 large handful cilantro
  • 1 green chili
  • 3/4 cup natural yogurt
  • 2/3 drops of sesame oil
  • lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the Squid...
Cut the squid into strips and gently criss cross the inside to create a hatch pattern.

Place into the milk and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Mix the corn flour, flour and sesame seeds together in a food bag.

Once the squid has soaked, remove from the milk, shaking off the excess, then place in the bag. Shake bag thoroughly until the squid is well coated.

Remove the squid from the bag and place back in the fridge for at least half an hour - this is what makes the batter so crunchy!

Make the Sauce...
In a mixer, blend the cilantro and the chili together until fairly smooth. Turn out to a bowl and add the coriander and the yoghurt. Mix well, then add lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate until required.

Cook the Squid...

Heat the oil until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.

Gently drop the squid in - shaking to separate, and being sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Cook for approximately 45 seconds, then remove and drain on some kitchen paper.

Serve with the chili cilantro dipping sauce, and enjoy!

Spicy Seafood Wontons with Sesame Chili Dressing

  • 300g white fish (I used cod!)
  • 100g prawns
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 2" piece ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 thai red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 ml rice vinegar
  • 50 ml water
  • 75g sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • Soy sauce to taste

This made way more fish mousse than required - but can be used for great leftovers!

Prepare the Fish Mousse...
In a food processor, blitz the white fish until pretty smooth. Add one egg white, one chili, half the ginger, half the garlic, the lime zest, sesame oil and half the fish sauce and blitz again until it becomes 'spongey'.

Roughly chop the prawns and mix into the fish mixture with a spoon or your fingers. (Don't blend this time - we want the prawns to remain fairly intact!)

Prepare the Sauce...
In a mini-blender, blend the other half of the ginger, the other half of the garlic, one chili and a handful of cilantro until finely chopped but not totally pureed.

In a small pan, bring the rice vinegar/ water and sugar to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the cornflour with a spot of water then add to the syrup, with the ginger/garlic mix and a couple of drops of sesame oil. Simmer for another minute or so and remove from the heat.

Prepare The Wontons...
Whisk together one egg white with a little water.

Place a wonton wrapper on a lightly floured surface and brush with the egg white mixture. Place a small teaspoon of filling in the middle and fold over, gently squeezing out all the air and pressing the edges together. Make into a shape if you want - I just kinda folded the long corners in and stuck them togther... I had a crazy idea about pan-frying the seam with a sesame seed mix. Which didn't work out - more on that in a sec!

Place in a steamer (make sure they aren't touching!!)

Cook the Wontons...
Once they are all prepared, steam for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat...

... right, so it was at his point that things started to go wrong... some of my wontons were touching - and when I tried to separate them the wrapper tore...

Emergency re-think required. My original thought had been to coat two side of the wonton in sesame seeds and pan-fry for a minute or two to give a lovely crunchy edge. But that wasn't going to work with my poor little torn wontons... So, noticing that my oil was nicely hot I decided to briefly deep-fry them instead!

Woo hoo - they were delicious! Make sure the oil is really nice and hot - these have already been cooked, we're just crisping them up. Fry for a minute or two then drain on kitchen paper.

Beware - they are still sticky little buggers, don't do too many at once - and keep them moving!

With a squeeze of lime juice and sweet chili and cilantro sauce!

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Psychgrad said...

Interesting "3" ritual.

This dish looks amazing. A strong contender for sure. You said you have put a lot of energy into this dish (in your previous post) and it sure shows).

Margaret said...

What a fantastic trio of food. You should win no problem with this dish!

Anonymous said...

I have three letters for you: wow.

Peter M said...

Kittie, the effort shows...this is by far the best post you presented on this blog thus far!

You're a serious contender for the Joust and perhaps we'll see you in that cute apron! ;)

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Great dish! I can imagine them going perfectly with a pint of beer. Partytime!

Beth said...

What a great entry. This looks fantastic

kittie said...

Psychgrad - ritual - I like that. Sounds better than obsessive ;)

Thanks Margaret!

Thanks croquecamille - I think your gazpacho looks fabulous too :D

Wow, Peter, thanks!! (Would I have to wear it the 'greek' way?? ;)

Thanks EC Vancouver - I was totally impressed with your trio too!!

Mike said...

What the...? I would never have the guts to try that BEAUTIFUL dish! You have officially adjusted my ego, which needed it anyway. Great dish, outstanding, incredible!

Anonymous said...

This looks scrumptuous. You went into all this trouble!! I am very lazy...

Fearless Kitchen said...

This all looks so wonderful!

kittie said...

Thanks Beth!

Hey Mike, I'm blushing, thank you!!

jodimop - your ceviche was hardly lazy! Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you fearless!

Corinne said...

that ahi is making my mouth water... and its only 9 in the morning here! :)

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

What a great entry Kittie!!! 3 dishes???!!! I didn't even get one done this month!

PaniniKathy said...

That platter looks so incredibly delicious - I'm sure it had to have been devoured in minutes after you finished photographing!!

Dee said...

Kittie, you have outdone yourself!
I'm bookmarking this page, but I'm only going to attempt one at a time - like any sane person ;)

By the way, the beef is corning? corny? Can't wait!

Lore said...

I think the wontons are my favourites but that doesn't mean I wouldn't lick my fingers after all 3 of them.
Looks like the effort that went into making this trilogy paid off big time!
Good luck in the joust and do let me know how I can vote for you :)

glamah16 said...

You get down with your bad self. This lloks like it could served up in a fine reaturant . Just excellent!

Heather said...

I'm with Peter the Greek, this is incredible, especially for having been produced in a home kitchen! Brava!

kittie said...

corinne... I don't see a problem with ahi for breakfast!

Thanks Judy (you seriously wouldn't believe the amount of dishes!)

paninikathy - I'm just lucky I managed to photograph it first ;)

Dee - bah, sanity is overrated ;) Can't wait to see your corny beef!!

Thanks Lore! The voting poll is here - you need to register for the forum to vote... but then you can join in next time! :D

Wow, thanks coco!

Thanks Heather... my home kitchen is only 8ft by 12ft... I was stacking dishes on the floor by the end!

Ben said...

Oh, I love it! It looks delicious. Good luck :)

giz said...

Now I'm fascinated with your interpretation of the number 3. Funny, my house has a number "3" in it and was predominantly viewed by Asian families and ultimately bought by an Asian family. Hmmmmm.

Kevin said...

That seafood looks so good! The tuna looks perfectly seared. I like the use of the szechaun peppercorns.

Cynthia said...

You are so good at what you do! All three of those recipes I will definitely try.

kittie said...

Thanks Ben (fingers crossed!) ;)

That's interesting Giz, I wonder how much of that was related?

I only fairly recently discovered szechuan peppers Kevin - I love their hot numbiness!!

Thank you Cynthia - I hope you enjoy them!

Lori Lynn said...

Whoa! Kitty!
This is some amazing combination. I especially like the seared tuna, as szechuan pepper is a fav of mine.
Good luck in the joust, your entry is fabulous!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, yummy! That trio looks very tasty! Wonderful!



toontz said...

Congrats on winning first place in the Joust!