Silver Pomfret and Kaffir Moilee Infusion with Ashish Sanyal
How often has your mind wandered to Char-grilled Silver Pomfret And Kaffir Moilee Infusion? Not at all, because this dish is the unique creation of Chef Ashish Sanyal at the Lalit Ashok hotel, where he heads all of the culinary activity.
This article is to talk about this one signature dish the chef concocted. It’s unremitting title is, Char-grilled Silver Pomfret And Kaffir Infusion With Coconut Rice. The inescapable Anglo Indian influences, “kaffir”, “moilee” coupled with this whole new age cooking business of “infusion” means this is one pomfret that should not go untasted.
We hear so much of fusion and the general cross-pollination of culinary cultures lately; and for all its noise, we know a lot of the action is uninspired “fusion for the want of a better idea” cooking with no real creative effort. (It’s like trying to pass off Hinglish as a “fusion” language.)
But this dish by Sanyal seemed to be inspired. And by the reading of its recipe, we believe him. (Recipe reproduced below just in case you fancy your abilities as a chef.) So we asked the chef a couple of questions about his creation.
What was the inspiration for the dish?
I basically wanted to highlight good Indian flavours. Like the moilee and kaffir lime which makes the moilee traditional and kaffir nouvelle. It’s not like the sauce we do in Indian cuisine but it’s smoother. I wanted it to be healthy so I used the red Kerala rice. And fresh fish basically means pomfret. I gave it a light tava fry. So it’s fresh, healthy, light and flavourful. That was the intention. Everything in one platter, a complete meal. Apt as a full meal. All textures and aromas, including a traditional and nouvelle presentation.
People in land locked Bangalore are afraid to eat seafood. Care to comment?
It’s all about how seafood is stored. If the temperatures are controlled then the product stays fresh even in a place like Bangalore. We are very particular on how it is sourced and stored in ideal temperatures. We never compromise on that. That’s the difference between five stars and other restaurant.
We confess we have neither tried cooking or eating this dish, but since it is our business to tell you about the all the new treats that await you on the weekend, we would be remiss if we did not tell you about this invention.
Here’s the recipe:
- In a grinder make a paste of onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, lemon juice, salt and all the spices, along with fried and crushed curry leaves.
- Coat the washed and cleaned pomfret fish nicely on both sides and also into the cuts with the masala prepared
- Keep in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan and place the marinated pomfret fish.
- Cover the pan and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on low flame.
- After 7-8 minutes flip the fish, cover the pan and cook the other side.
- Cook for another 2-3 minutes and It's done
While making the paste add very little water only if required. Don't make the paste thin.
For the sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 20 g finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 10 curry leaves
- 200 g onion, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Few kaffir lime leaves.
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 300 ml coconut milk
- To make the sauce, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the garlic, ginger, chillies and curry leaves, then stir until the leaves begin to crackle.
- Add the onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the ground turmeric and lemon juice, then stir for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add finely shredded kaffir lime leaves bring o boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Season, then set aside.
- Once cooled blend the sauce with a hand blender and strain. Heat slightly at time of service.
For Coconut Matta Rice
- 3-4 cups cooked rice (Kerala Matta Rice)
- 1.5 tablespoon coconut oil
- 6-7 curry leaves
- 15-20 raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
- 1-2 green chili, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons urad dal, soaked for 15 mins
- 2 teaspoons chana dal, soaked
- ¾ cup freshly grated coconut
- hing, a pinch (optional), also known as asafoetida
- salt, to taste
- Soak the urad and chana dal for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok/pan on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add mustard seeds let it crackle.
3 .Add ginger and green chili and cook till ginger starts changing it's color to golden brown. You may also add a pinch of hing (asafoetida) at this point.
- Then add the cashews, urad dal, chana dal and cook till they turn golden brown.
- Also add the curry leaves and mix.
- Add the freshly grated coconut and mix. Cook the coconut for a minute or two.
- Finally add the cooked rice, also add the salt and mix everything together and remove pan from heat.
About Ashish Sanyal
He started with Taj Bengal in 1995 and in only two years he was included into the Chef Fraternity of Taj Hotels as Chef de Partie. In the last 22 Sanyal has seen an era of changing food habits, style and culture of culinary reforms in the country.
He has handled been host to state dignitaries, handled large social banquets, organizer of various culinary festivals, pulling off Mega event catering and culinary workshops. He has trained under legendary chefs in Mughlai. He was invited by the World’s leading Luxury Cruise liner, Seabourn to be the Guest Chef onboard Seabourn Encore to showcase the vivid taste and flavours of the Indian Cuisine to the world.
He has shared the kitchen spaces with chefs like Gordon Ramsay, George Blanc, Imtiyaz Qureshi and Sanjeev Kapoor.