Friday, November 26, 2010

Feed Your Chakra

Nothing like a good old poach to set the weekend off. 
This brown rice and lentil pilaf is my two favourite adjectives -  delicious and addictive. The pistachios provide crunch while the sweetness of the sultanas offsets the warmth from the Indian spices. A complete meal which is good for your body and soul too...


Tea Poached Salmon with Indian Inspired Pilaf
Serves 4

4 X 170g salmon fillets skin on
3 whole star anise
5 cardamom pods
2 tablespoons ceylon tea leaves (or any other black tea - fairtrade too!)
for the pilaf:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cardomom 
2 tablespoons black nigella seeds - optional
1 tablespoon asafoetida 'hing' powder - substitute for garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced into 1/2 cm half moons
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
Big handful of fresh baby spinach leaves
80g whole shelled pistachios
250g already cooked brown basmati rice (or white rice)
1/2 cup uncooked brown lentils, soaked overnight
80g sultanas
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Fresh lime - optional 

In a large pot place the star anise, cardamom, tea leaves and salmon fillets. Cover completely with water and bring to a gentle simmer on the stove. Leave to poach for about 8 minutes, turning the fillets once or twice to ensure even cooking (the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets and how you like your fish cooked). The fish will be cooked if it feels firm when lightly pressed with your finger. Remove from poaching liquid and leave to cool before carefully removing the skin and flaking into bite sized chunks.

To cook the lentils drain any liquid from the overnight soaking, place in a pot and cover with water. Simmer away for about 10 minutes until the lentils are cooked through but still hold their shape. Drain and set aside.

In a pan on a medium heat add all of the spices. A few minutes of dry roasting in the pan will help to bring out their flavours. Now add the onion and garlic and a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Gently fry off the onions until translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and allow to soften slightly. Now chuck in the lentils, brown rice, pistachio nuts and sultanas. Mix together quite well to ensure the spices penetrate through the rice and lentils. At the last moment add in the spinach leaves and coriander and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with the poached salmon. This dish is perfect hot or cold! 

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