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Fish & Seafood Recipes

18 August 2007

Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem: Thai Garlic Pepper Calamari


This was my first attempt at cooking squid. I have always been worried about over-cooking it so I have stayed away. However, after making this recipe, my worries vanished. The calamari was tender and succulent with the moist flesh coated in the delicious crunch of the golden garlic.

The recipe took 10 minutes to make and 3 minutes to completely demolish, it was so good.   


Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem Recipe

3 medium squid bodies, cleaned
3 tbs of fish sauce
1 tsp of ground white pepper
10-15 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs of tapioca starch
1 tbs of unbleached flour
3 cups of peanut oil
A handful of coriander to garnish
Sriracha Sauce (a popular Thai chili sauce) for dipping


  1. Wash the squid body well. It will be very slippery so hold on to it tightly. Pat dry well with a paper towel.
  2. Slice the squid to make calamari rings around 2cm wide.
  3. Place in a bowl and cover in fish sauce. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, mince the garlic. Set aside.
  5. Mix the tapioca starch and flour in a bowl with the pepper.
  6. Drain the calamari rings of fish sauce, and dredge evenly in the flour and pepper mixture and then the garlic.
  7. When you're ready to fry the calamari, heat the oil to a medium high heat in a wok.
  8. Test the oil by dropping in a piece of garlic. It should sizzle and not burn. Watch out for hot spitting oil!
  9. Gently add about 4 calamari rings, one at a time, into the hot oil with a either a large slotted spoon or chopsticks.
  10. Fry the calamari for up to one minute or until the garlic turns a golden colour. Once the rings are ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and place gently on paper towels.
  11. Remove the pieces of garlic floating in the oil before the next batch of calamari goes in.
  12. Once the calamari is ready, serve on a plate and garnish with the coriander and serve with Sriracha sauce.

17 July 2007

Bastille Day Bouillabaisse


To honour Bastille Day on 14 July we held our own Fête de la Fédération at apartment 405. The specialité de la maison was Bouillabaisse followed by a very rich Chocolate and Orange Mousse. Nic wants me to put in lots of other French words that he's yelling at me, like tete-a-tete and rendezvous and aprés-ski, but I'm not going to.

Bouillabaisse, a Provencal fish stew originates from the town of Marseille and consists of at least four different types of Mediterranean rock fish and crustaceans like mussels or small crabs. The rich seafood is balanced with a light, sweet broth that is made from fish stock given its famous red hue from saffron threads.

I never fully appreciated the amount of work that goes into preparing this acclaimed dish. Bouillabaisse is no ordinary soup. It requires patience, effort and real application. In the end however the result was worth the effort.

There are three major steps in the preparing of this recipe. The first is preparation of the fish stock, then the Rouille; a Saffron and Garlic Mayonnaise with croutons, and then finally the Bouillabaisse itself. Don't forget, you can always make the process easier by just buying fish stock from your local fish shop which is what I will do next time.

Continue reading "Bastille Day Bouillabaisse" »

14 July 2007

Seafood Barbie

Summer in Vancouver is fleeting so there is no excuse not to whip out the barbecue and head down to the park after work. We bought our barbie for $26. A Steal considering the number of times it has been used it so far.

On the BBQ menu was fresh Sardines and other seafood from the Granville Island Public Market. I have long had a love for sardines, especially when they are grilled. The little silver fish are not only tasty but high calcium, protein, iron, potassium, phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids.

Sardines are a shallow swimming fish caught in the summer months and are believed to have been named after the Island of Sardinia, where they were caught as young fish to be salted or packed in oil in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Sardines, also known as pilchards in some countries, are oily fish and can be eaten in a variety of ways such as grilled, crumbed, baked or pickled. I think they are best grilled and drizzled with chilied olive oil and lemon juice.

ok, back to last night's seafood feast...It consisted of grilled sardines stuffed with garlic and rosemary, oysters kilpatrick, prawns with a garlic butter dipping sauce and a potato salad with a balsamic wholegrain mustard creme dressing. Salivating yet? I am. 


Grilled Sardine Recipe

4 fresh Sardines
3 cloves of Garlic
4 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Half a Lemon
50 mls of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
4 Bamboo Skewers (soaked for an hour in water)
*Heat the BBQ up for 10 minutes.

1. Gut and wash the Sardines. Nic the fish filleter did this job as I am too much of a wimp.
2. Pat the Sardines dry and rub body and cavity with salt and pepper.
3. Slice Garlic and place in the cavity along with a Rosemary sprig. Add a slice of garlic in the mouth as well.
4. Insert the bamboo skewer into the Sardine's mouth and make sure that the stick runs as close to the spine as possible. Push the skewer out around the tail. Repeat with the rest of the sardines.
5. Sprinkle a little more salt on the fish.
6. Once the BBQ is ready then place the fish on the grill and cook for around 3 minutes each side turning once.
7. Mix the olive oil and chili powder vigorously in a bowl.
8. Once the Sardines are ready, take off the grill and drizzle with chili oil and a squeeze of lemon.


Oysters Kilpatrick Recipe

12 Fresh Oysters
3 rashers of Smoked Bacon
2 tsp Oil
Worcesterchire Sauce
Tobasco Sauce
4 cloves of Garlic
5 tbs of Unsalted Butter
*Special Equipment: Glove, kitchen towel and an oyster shucker

1. Finely slice the bacon and fry it until crispy in 2 tsp of oil. Drain and set aside.
2. Finely mince the garlic.
3. Heat up the butter gently in a small fry pan. Add the garlic and stir for about 3 minutes on a low heat. Turn the heat off and let the pan sit on the plate for about 3 minutes.
4. Carefully place the unshucked Oysters on the BBQ grill. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. They should start steaming and hissing and even open a little. Don't worry if they don't.
5. Take the oysters off the grill and then shuck them open. Careful of the hot oyster liquor!
6. Put the open oyster back onto the grill and add a dash of Worcesterchire, tobasco, garlic butter and a sprinkle of bacon.
7. Cook for a further minute or so, remove from the grill with tongs and then SLURP!


BBQ Banana Prawns and Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe

This was simple. Just grill the prawns for about 3 minutes on each side then peel and dip in the garlic butter left over from the oysters.


Potato Salad with a Balsamic Whole Grain Mustard Dressing

15 Small Red Potatoes
5 Small Vine Ripened Cherry Tomatoes
1 handful of shelled Sugar Snap Peas
1 handful of diced Spanish Onion
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 tbs of Aged Balsamic Vinegar
3 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp of Wholegrain Mustard

1. Wash and boil the potatoes until cooked - about 15 minutes. Keep testing the potatoes with a knife as you don't want them to fall apart or to be undercooked.
2. Shell the Sugar Snap Peas and cut the tomatoes in half. Set Aside.
3. Prepare the dressing. Add the Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar into a bowl. Add the Wholegrain Mustard and mix vigorously with a fork until a creamy consistency forms. Add the Black Pepper and continue to mix.
4. Drain the potatoes once cooked and run under cold water.
5. Add the potatoes to a bowl, add the peas and onion. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and mix well.
6. Mix the dressing into the salad and then top with chopped chives.


06 July 2007

Southern Indian Coconut Fish Curry


Last night fish curry was on the menu. It was a coconut based curry which is a common ingredient in Southern Indian dishes.  It was a hit. The subtle sweetness of the trout was perfect with the tangy sweetness of the tamarind coconut broth.


Southern Indian Coconut Fish Curry Recipe
(Serves 4)

2 small Trouts
2 tbs Vegetable Oil
3 Garlic cloves
4 cm Piece of Ginger
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Onion
1 1/2 large Vine Tomatoes
1 can Coconut Milk
2 tsp Tamarind Pulp or 1 tsp Tamarind Paste
2 Green Chilis
A handful of Coriander for garnish


  1. Skin the Trout and cut it in to chunks about 3-4 cm wide. The 'chunks' will be thin but make sure the pieces are wide. I am lucky enough to have a personal fish filleter and skinner. Thank you Nic. You can leave a little skin on if you want but not too much as the curry will become too rich.
  2. If you are using fresh Tamarind, peel it and place the fruit it in a small bowl of warm water. Massage the flesh into the water with your fingers until you get most of it off the seeds. Set aside to soak.
  3. Dice the onion.
  4. Deseed the tomatoes and dice.
  5. Crush 3 garlic cloves with a pestle and mortar to a paste.
  6. Grate the ginger finely. Place in a bowl with the garlic.
  7. Heat up 2 tbs of oil in a pot and add the onion. Fry until translucent on a medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add spices and lower heat ensuring to stir constantly so the spices don't burn. Add the salt.
  9. Add the tomatoes and stir fry for 5 minutes. Now add the coconut milk and return to a medium heat.
  10. Bring the broth to a boil then add the Tamarind. Lower the heat slightly and add the Trout. Stir gently to coat the fish in the broth.
  11. Turn the heat off and let the curry sit for about 3 minutes. Serve with Basmati rice and garnish with coriander and green chilis sliced lengthways.

    Make sure you wash your hands after slicing the chilis and don't rub your eyes like I did!   


30 June 2007

Sockeye Salmon with Naam Jim Sauce


Thais have long had a gift for the fusing of salty, sweet, sour and spicy sensations. An example of this mouthwatering fusion is Naam Jim sauce.

Naam Jim pairs well with just about any meat but is especially complimentary with seafood. I spent many a weekend in Hua Hin as a child peeling prawns and smothering them in Naam Jim, and still do. this time however I paired the sauce with poached Wild Sockeye salmon. The result was a sublime combination of the rich and succulent Sockeye with the power-packed Naam Jim.

While on the subject of salmon, I should note that Copper River Sockeye is the fish god's gift to Alaska. Copper River salmon have a large store of natural oils and fat that allow them to thrive in the cold waters. These characteristics result not only in a very tasty fish but also a healthy dose of Omega 3.


1 Wild Salmon Filet
1 Stalk of Lemongrass
1 tbs Naam Pla (fish sauce) - I use Squid brand fish sauce
1 cup Rice

Naam Jim Sauce

4 tbs Naam Pla (Fish Sauce)
3-4 Limes
2 Bird Chilies
3 Garlic Cloves
2 tbs Palm Sugar
1 1/2 tsp of Coriander Stems

1. First thing to do is to cook your rice. I use my beloved new rice cooker which produces perfect rice each time.
2. Wash the rice and then add 2 cups of water. Cook.
3. Squeeze the limes and add the juice to the Naam Pla sauce.
4. Mince the chilies. You may want to remove the seeds if you don't want the sauce to be too spicy. Don't rub your eyes whatever you do! Add the chilies to the sauce.
5. Mince the garlic and coriander stems and add them to the sauce.
6. Add the palm sugar to the sauce mixture and stir. Taste and decide if you need more spicy, sweet, salty or sour. Adjust to your liking.

Poached Salmon

1. Bring about 2-3 cups of water to the boil. The amount depends on how much salmon you are cooking. You are just going to poach the fish so you don't want to cover it completely in water.
2. Cut the lemongrass stalk in half and add it to the pot with 1 tbs of Naam Pla to salt the water. Cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to low.
3.Cut the salmon into generous chunks (7cm x 4cm).
4. Add the salmon to the pot and cover. Cook gently for about 10-15 minutes depending on how you like your fish.
5. Once cooked, remove the fish with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Spoon the Naam Jim sauce over it and serve with rice.

Arroy Dee!

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