Author Notes: This is just the recipe for when you are craving Indian food but want a healthier option than take out. You could easily get this on the table in half an hour, making it a great mid-week option. Any leftovers make great wraps the next day for lunch too.
This dinner was meant to be salmon with fennel braised lentils. However, in a jet lag fugged state I left the lentils cooking for over an hour on a high heat while I put my kids to bed and emerged from their room to a house full of smoke. Not good, my house still smells like a bonfire 24 hours later. Every cloud (of smoke) has a silver lining though. The lentils were not at all rescuable so I improvised and, as often happens, the result was better than what I’d originally planned.
I love using beans as they give bulk to a meal without being stodgy. Canned cannellini beans are always in my cupboard ready to be thrown in soups, pureed to make a quick dip or roasted with meatballs. Use the technique in the recipe below but vary the flavorings to give you more options. For example, you could make a more Italian style bean dish another day (swap the cumin for a sprig of rosemary, the mint for basil and finish with balsamic instead of lemon).
The marinade I used on the salmon is something I regularly use on chicken (skinless boneless thighs or pieces on the bone). It is so easy and I often freeze fresh chicken in a bag with the marinade so I have a quick dinner to hand. The chicken soaks up the marinade as it freezes and again as it defrosts. - You Say Tomato
Salmon and marinade
- 2 wild salmon fillets (I buy frozen wild salmon as it is much cheaper than fresh, and most ‘fresh salmon’ has been frozen at sea and just defrosted in store)
- 2 tablespoons plain natural yoghurt (low fat is fine)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder (I like Sharwoods Madras powder)
- 1 teaspoon oil (I used coconut oil but any oil is fine)
Spiced Indian beans and extras
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 red Thai chili, left whole (If you don’t have a fresh chili you could use a pinch of chili flakes)
- 1 pinch cumin seeds or half a teaspoon of ground cumin
- 2 tomatoes, chopped into small cubes around 1cm square
- 10 mint leaves, finely shredded
- 1 lemon or lime, juiced
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 wholegrain flatbreads per person
- 2 tablespoons plain natural yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons mango chutney (I like Sharwoods)
- lemon or lime wedges
- In a bowl that will be big enough to hold your salmon, mix together the yoghurt and curry powder before adding the salmon and stirring so that the salmon is coated. Set aside while you prep the beans or pop in the fridge for up to a day before cooking.
- Get started on the beans by slicing the garlic then placing a small saucepan over a medium heat and adding the oil to warm. Add the garlic to the oil along with the chili and cumin seeds and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic is starting to turn gently golden. You don’t want the garlic to brown. Add the beans to the pan of garlic and spice, stir and keep on a low heat to warm the beans through.
- Chop the tomatoes and mint and stir them into the pan of beans with a pinch of salt and cook for another 2 minutes until the tomatoes have started to soften. Then take off the heat, add the lemon juice, taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside.
- Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium high heat then add the oil. When the oil is hot, place the marinaded salmon in, you want a decent amount of the marinade to still be on the salmon as this will form a gorgeous crust. You want a decent sizzle when you put the salmon in so be brave and don’t turn the heat down. The sizzle will make the crust. Don’t be temped to try and turn the salmon until it has been cooking for 5 minutes as it will fall apart. As the yoghurt cooks it will form a crust which will hold the salmon together and make it easier to turn.
- While the salmon cooks, start to plate up your arugula (rocket) with the beans sitting on top, chop lemon or lime wedges to serve with it. Pop your flatbreads in the toaster or toast them in a dry frying pan.
- Turn the salmon over after around 5 minutes or when the salmon is looking to be cooked almost half way up the side of the piece of fish. You will see the salmon turning opaque as it cooks and this line of opaque pink will rise as the salmon cooks through. I like my salmon pretty rare so I like to see a decent amount of orange left in the middle before I turn, you may like to leave it to cook for more like 8 minutes. Of course, this all depends on the size of your fillet and the heat of your pan. Essentially, you want the salmon to be almost ready before you turn it. Once you have flipped it, cook for a couple of minutes before lifting it out on top of your beans
- To serve, spoon some yoghurt on top of the fish and top that with a generous spoonful of mango chutney. To make yummy wraps, spread some yoghurt and chutney on your flatbread, top with some of the greens, beans and a wedge of salmon then wrap up and enjoy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spicy Recipe