Looking forward to his Christmas Eve, especially if you have children, is one of my favorite things of the year. But there is so much to do so far, and to be prepared. Ideally, the children sleep in a bed tomorrow night, you will have something to take out from the oven, because all the food you need to help you through the final moment of gift packaging.
We rarely get a white Christmas, but the outside is usually cold, so the instinct requires food to be warm and comforting. Fish is an obvious answer, both light (before the feast days) and familiarity. The same is true of rice, because it is so tolerant (see Meera’s vegetarian pilau). This year, I’d like to take a break from our usual Crete, so I’ve been experimenting with new flavors that inspired a trip to kerala a few years ago. Because of its high degree of dependence on fish and vegetables, its cooking is very light and bold, but it is particularly notable for red brick red fish and coconut curry. This is my version: spices work together, giving soft, rounded notes and signage red, even the most ardent Santa (he probably prefers it pies) against.
You can prepare a day in advance and then put it in the oven half an hour before eating. Six doses.
1/2 level lime
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g peeled, sustainably captured cod (or other solid white fish)
400g Indian fragrant rice, rinse
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 red onion, peeled and sliced
Half thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
400 grams of fresh tomatoes
1 green pepper, seeds
One quarter teaspoon black mustard seed
1 fennel seed
1 teaspoon freshly ground lapping of the seeds
One quarter teaspoon red pepper powder
1 teaspoon sugar coconut milk
Coriander and mint leaves, serve
In a bowl, mix the lime juice, turmeric and half a teaspoon of salt, apply to the fish, then marinate for 30 minutes. After that, wash the marinade and place the fish in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C / 350F/gas mark. Put the rice, bay and cinnamon in a pinch of salt pan, cover with boiling water and boil for 4 minutes until boiling. Drain, return to the pan, cover and continue at the next stage.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and start frying the Onions, stirring occasionally. As the onion travels, place the ginger, garlic, tomatoes and peppers in the food processor and lightning until finely chopped. Once the onion has been sauteed for 5 to 8 minutes, soften it well and turn the heat up to medium-high, adding mustard and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add ginger and garlic and fry until light. Add the cilantro, paprika and sweet potato powder, stir-fry for a minute, then add the coconut milk. Once the mixture is simmering, add the rinsed fish to the pan to ensure that it is only submerged and gently cooked for 5 minutes. Once the fish is cooked, remove the pan.
Place half of the fish and sauce in a deep baking sheet and place half of the rice on top. Repeat these layers and cover the foil. Bake for 20 minutes until heated, then cool and rest for 10 minutes. Full of peppermint and cilantro, and your favorite chutney and sour sauce.
And for the rest of the week
For very good fast food during the holidays, mix any extra curry in pancakes or na, and wrap it with sour sauce, lettuce, cilantro and bacon. Double the Turkey’s leftover curry base: coconut rice can be shocking, with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Merry Christmas!