Thursday, 18 September 2008

Think Spice: Fenugreek Poached Fish with Saag Aloo

First things first...

Yes, ok, so I haven't been around much this last week or so: I'm woefully slow in my posting, and my google reader ridicules me everytime I turn the computer on, groaning under the weight of unread posts... I have been in the kitchen (a lot!!) but have been sorely limited in non-work pc time.

So apologies if I haven't been by as much as usual - I promise I'll sort it out soon!

I have still been managing to cook - and this post is my entry for this month's Think Spice... this month being hosted by... me!

I chose fenugreek as the spice, either in seed form or as dried leaves. I ended up using both forms in this dish - although the seeds were my main use.

Unusually for me, I have kept the heat in this dish to a minimum - I didn't want to overpower the subtle flavours in the fish. And I was really pleased with the result. It was spicy - but in a flavourful way rather than hot. The saag aloo may not be authentic, but its main ingredients are spinach an potato - so I figured it deserved the name!

There was quite a bit of gravy at the end - next time I would serve this with some lovely naan bread to soak up all the flavour. As it is I just had to drink it out the bowl... ;)

Only 10 days left to get your fenugreek-spiced dishes to me - come on peeps, get cooking!

Fenugreek Poached Fish with Saag Aloo

Serves 2 - with leftovers!

For the Fish and Broth...
  • 1.5 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 350ml water
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 fillets firm white fish - I used pollock
For the Saag Aloo...
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 large pinch dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 0.5 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 bunch spinach, washed, destalked and roughly chopped
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced (large)
  • 4 medium potatoes, diced (large)
  • 2 tbsp ghee

Prepare the Broth...

In a dry pan, toast the fenugreek seeds for 3/4 minutes until golden brown. Transfer them to a mortar and pestle and give them a bit of a bash. Warning - these little legumes are really hard - so just try to break them up a bit, don't worry about grinding them to powder.

Put the bashed fenugreek and the fennel seeds in a pan, then pour over the water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Prepare the Saag Aloo...
Heat the ghee over a low to medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When the start to pop add the onions and dried fenugreek leaves. Fry gently until translucent, don't allow to brown.

Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute or so before adding the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli.

Add the diced potato to the mix, and top up with cold water to about half way up the potato. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring a couple of times through out.

Prepare the fish while the potatoes are cooking...

Cook the Fish...
Once the broth is cool, strain through a fine sieve and discard the seeds. Add the milk, salt and turmeric. Lay the fish fillets in the broth - they should be totally submerged - otherwise top up with water.

Gently bring the broth to the boil. As soon as it reaches the boil, cover and turn off the heat. Leave in the broth for 5-10 minutes - until fish is cooked through (this will depend on how thick the fish is).

Finish the Saag Aloo...
Add the tomatoes and chopped spinach to the potato mix and stir well. Cover the pan, and cook for another 5/10 minutes - until the potatoes are cooked through, the spinach is completely wilted and the tomatoes are softened.

Depending on how much water is released by the tomatoes and spinach you may want to remove the lid for the last few minutes of cooking to let the sauce thicken.

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Peter M said...

I wonder if there's a "fenuscot" spice out there...makes you go 'hmmmm!

You're becoming very adept with seafood, dish by plate, fish by fish!

Sam said...

Pollock is such an underated fish, I think it's delicious, especially when you add wonderful flavours like you have here.

giz said...

I've never used fenugreek in my cooking - just never entered my consciousness. I should open my scope a little.

kittie said...

ha ha @ fenuscot! Thanks Peter, was really happy with how this turned out :)

I'm a big fan of pollock too Sam - so much more reasonably priced than cod too!

You probably have without realising it Giz - apparently it is one of the main ingredients in pre-made curry powder!!

Dharm said...

The fish looks great. I like how you combined it with Saag Aloo!! And your right about Fenugreek being in curry powder.

Núria said...

I'm not a Spice girl... Uuuuuuhhhh bad joke! There's not many spices in my kitchen but I would love to participate. I'll check to see the details.

Your dish looks so comforting... and that sauce is mouthwatering :D.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That is a beauty of a dish! I can see myself destroying the fish as I tried to carefully plate it for the photo (it wouldn't be the first time), so my hat goes off to you. It sounds absolutely delicious!

Lore said...

Lovely Kittie! Although I'm not sure what fenugreek tastes like (as it is not available here) the spices that don't overpower the fish flavour but still come through makes this dish sound sooooo good...uhm pardon my drool :P

Lo said...

This just goes to prove I don't use fenugreek NEARLY enough in my cooking. This looks fabulous

Bellini Valli said...

A wonderfully spiced dish Kittie. Who wouldn't want to try fenegreek after reading this post:D

kittie said...

Thanks Dharm :) I was originally going to pair it with braised lentils with spinach - but I'm really happy with how this turned out, so glad I changed my mind!

Lol Núria - that would make me Scottish Spice! Known to the world media as clumsy spice, of course ;)

Shhh mike... that was my second attempt - the first fillet was *slightly* more flaked than it maybe should have been! ;)

Hey Lore - where are you based? I thought I knew, but I can't remember! I usually have my spicing pretty full on - but fish is different matter :)

Thanks Lo! Fenugreek poaching broth was a definite success - I might try it with chicken next time!

Hey thanks Val - it's worth trying :)

noobcook said...

Love the food presentation of your fenugreek poached fish ... it is very apetite inducing! Hehe sorry I don't have the spice or know how to cook with it... but I'll be sure to catch your round up ;)

Cynthia said...

I've never seen the leaves in these parts. I like the idea of poaching the fish they way you've done it.

Dee said...

My mother would love you! Fenugreek is traditionally used in fish curries; that's what she does and I don't. I love that you poached the fish and didn't go the curry route :)

hot garlic said...

Sorry you were under the weather! My readers were always groaning too, so I gave them up.

This looks absolutely delicious. Your photo is so pretty!

glamah16 said...

I can never find fenugreek seeds! I hope you are feeling better.

kittie said...

Hi noobcook - it seems I picked an obscure one - I knew I should have gone with mustard ;)

hey cynthia! If you see them, make sure you get some - then worry about what to cook with them later ;)

Thanks dee - I really glad the poaching worked out - I wasn't sure what fenugreek broth was even going to taste like! Ps. it was your comment about fenugreek tea that started off the idea!

Hi hot garlic! Wow, giving up your readers?? That's bloggers' lib at it's finest - the modern day burning of bras! ;D

Hi coco! Feeling much better today thanks - and glad you have a good trip to London!

CECIL said...

Oh gosh!! I want in!! For this fenugreek cooking. Will whip up something. After all, I am starting to plan out Diwali menu! Yeah okay, it's another 1 month, but I am a planner geek. :D

The fenugreek poached fish is so interesting!

kittie said...

Hi Cecil! With one months's planning I can't wait to see this menu!!

Rachel said...

Bookmarked this recipe for sure!

Viagra for sale said...

I prepared a similar recipe yesterday for dinner, but I used different ingredients, due to the fact my husband is allergic to some of ingeredient you included here.

pharmacy said...

Wow that fish looks delicious and also healthy with a lot of vegetables, I'm not vegetarian or something like that, but I can't eat without vegetables, well thanks a lot for the recipe.