The wonderful weather we had over the Easter weekend had me excited about summer being around the corner. Then, as some of you know, the weather took a turn for the worse; it’s been rainy, grey and relatively unpleasant, on and off, since that weekend, and summer seems like a far away dream. This combined with the fact that I miss India, my parent’s home, the sun, my family and most importantly (:P) the ease with which I could get my hands on some delicious food, and the whole thing made me depressed.
But, instead of giving in to the grey, I decided that I was going to protest the gloom and the fact that I was not in India any more, by making some spicy, nay, fiery Indian food! And what combines Indian spices with the suggestion of summer in North America better than kababs (kebabs in this part of the world)?
Since I eat neither meat nor chicken, I decided that I was going to use fish instead. Also, since it was Hyderabad in particular, that I was missing, I wanted to make something with a Hyderabadi base (for more on Hyderabadi food, read this post). So I did some reading and thinking, and revisited memories of some of the more delicious kababs I’d eaten in my good old meat-eating days, and then went to work.
It took some experimenting, but I finally ended up with a literal and figurative mash-up: fish kababs that pay homage to Hyderabad. I won’t of course stake any claim to either originality or authenticity; all I will say is that these turned out to be spicy, soft, buttery and delicious fish kababs.
If you’d like to re-create this magic, read on for my instructions.
1 pound white fish fillets
1 pound salmon fillets
1 tablespoon yoghurt
4 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons coriander leaves
2 tablespoons mint leaves
4 spring onions
4 Indian green chillies or two jalapeño peppers, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 lime, finely grated
3 cloves of garlic, with their skins removed
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon red chili powder
Oil or ghee (indian clarified butter, go here for more information on this) for frying or grilling the kababs
Spices to be Dry Roasted:
1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds
1.5 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons Chana dal
3 whole dried red chilies
Seeds from 1 black cardamom pod
Place the spices to be dry roasted in a pan, and roast them on low heat until fragrant. Take them off the heat and let them cool.
In the meantime, place the coriander, mint, spring onions, chilis, lime zest, garlic and ginger in a food processor.
Whizz the ingredients around until they are finely chopped up, like this:
Remove (what I am going to elegantly refer to from now on as) the ‘green mixture’ into a bowl.
In the same food processor, process the fish fillets until they become an even paste, like this:
While the fish is being processed, grind the dry roasted spices (with a mortar and pestle or in a dry grinder) to a powder.
Once the fish is processed mix in the ‘green mixture’, chili powder, dry roasted and ground spices, and salt.
Add the yoghurt, egg whites and butter, and process until smooth, like this:
Your ‘kabab batter’, if you will, is now ready. You can refrigerate this. Whenever you’re ready to eat, take it out, and cook up your kababs.
I tried pan searing the kababs, and that worked out fine. However, the best way to cook them, in my opinion, is to grill them in the oven on a baking sheet, at a fairly high temperature. I went with 450 fahrenheit. Also, instead of oil, I used ghee to grease the tray, and halfway through the grilling (about 7 minutes in) I flipped the kababs and brushed some ghee on them with a basting brush.
And voilà, you have some delicious, buttery, spicy as hell kababs, right in the comfort of your home! I felt a wee bit less home sick after a few of these!
A great way to serve these kababs is with some green chutney. This is the recipe I used to make it.