Spice-crusted Salmon with Fresh Fig Raita

Modern Indian cooking never tasted so good - Reza Mahammad creates a tongue-tingling lightly spiced fish served with fruity fig yoghurt
By Reza Mahammad
Spice-crusted Salmon with Fresh Fig Raita
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the onion base

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g onions, finely sliced
  • 2 lemons, grated rind and juice

For the dry spice mix

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 dried chillies, broken, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

For the fish

  • 3 salmon, with skin, 150g each
  • 0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the fig raita

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinches ground cardamom
  • 250 ml plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 fresh figs, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 0.5 tsp mixed spice, dry
  • 0.5 lemons, grated rind
  • 0.25 tsp sugar

Method

1. First make the onion base: heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and tip in the onions and lemon rind. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat until the onions are meltingly soft. This should take about 30 minutes - give the onions a good stir now and again to prevent them from catching on the bottom of the pan.

2. For the dry spice mix: heat a heavy-bottomed pan over a low heat (a griddle or cast-iron pan is good for this). Add the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and red chilli to the pan. Toast the spices for about a minute or so, stirring all the time. When you catch a lovely spicy whiff, take the pan off the heat and tip the spices onto a plate to cool. Grind the spices to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle before adding the ginger powder.

3. Sprinkle the salmon fillets on both sides with freshly ground black pepper. Set aside about 1/2 tsp of the spice mix for the raita and pat the remaining mix onto one side of each salmon fillet (not the skin side). Set the fish aside in a cool place for about 30 minutes so that the spice flavours can soak into the fish.

4. To cook the salmon: heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy frying pan. When it's smoking hot, add the salmon fillets skin-side down. Sear for two minutes on each side before removing them from the pan. Place the fillets on a bed of warm lemony onions. Serve with chilled fig raita on the side.

5. For the fig raita: Heat a small heavy pan or griddle over a medium heat and toast the fennel seeds for about 30 seconds until they give off a lovely aniseed-like aroma. Grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle and mix with the cardamom powder.

6. Tip the yoghurt into a bowl and stir in the fennel and cardamom seed powder, chopped figs, dry spice mix, lemon rind and sugar. Chill well before serving with the fish.

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