Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna

I am very lucky to have a husband who catches fish for me.  He is very good at cleaning and fileting the fish.  Once he preps the fish, I cook some right away and the rest I freeze in food saver bags.  Whenever the freezer starts looking empty, he goes fishing again.  On his last fishing trip, he had his first ever catch of Black Fin Tuna.

Black Fin Tuna

He cleaned the fish and carved out four loins.  I used two loins for this recipe and froze the other two.  In retrospect, I should have made Poke from the two I froze.  This fish was so good, that I shouldn’t have frozen it.  Next time I will make Poke and post it.

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INGREDIENTS:  serves four

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Ingredients

  • four, 6oz to 8oz pieces, of tuna (if you don’t have Black Fin Tuna, then you can substitute Ahi Tuna which is more readily available.)
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to coat the pan and 1 tablespoon to coat the fish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
  • lime to squeeze on top
  • I made an Asian Spice Mix by combining the following:
    • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
    • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
    • 1 teaspoon crushed Szechuan peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns
    • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

PREPPING THE TUNA:

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Prep

  • Coat the tuna with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil
  • Sprinkle all sides with an even coating of the Asian Spice Mix
  • Combine the black and white sesame seeds
  • Roll the oiled and spiced fish pieces in the sesame seeds to coat evenly

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Feature

COOKING THE FISH:

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Cook

  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and get the oil hot.  Not smoking hot, just hot.
  • Add the fish and toast the sesame seeds 30 seconds on the large sides and 15 seconds each on the thinner sides.  The seeds will toast and the fish will remain rare in the center.

Squeeze some lime on top just before serving.  The lime brightens up the flavor.

This can be served with a veggie, a grain or a salad.  I have served it here on a bed of Asian Brown Rice Pilaf and a side of Green Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms.

Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms Feature

I will post the Asian Brown Rice Pilaf in the future.  For now please go to my Buckwheat Pilaf recipe.  Use Brown rice instead of buckwheat.  The cooking time will be longer, about 45 minutes on low heat.  Use peanut oil instead of grapeseed oil.  Use yellow mustard seeds instead of the black ones.  Leave out the cumin seeds and peas.  Instead of black pepper use white pepper.  This changes the Indian flavor profile to an Asian flavor profile.

ENJOY AND PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENT SECTION.  I love to hear your feedback.

Amritsari Masala Fish

My mother’s side of the family is from Amritsar in Northern India.  Many people in India are vegetarians, so that is how I was raised.  No meat, chicken or fish was cooked in the house.  My mom’s younger brother used to like to eat meat outside the home.  My uncle used to put me on his scooter and take me with him on his meat eating excursions.  He would go to a road side stand and order Amritsari Masala Pork Chops and Fish.  He would buy me Tutti Frutti Ice Cream and Pineapple Cream Pastry in exchange for a promise to not tell anyone at home that he had gone out to eat meat.  You see, my grandmother would not have approved of our culinary outing.

The culinary excursions my uncle took me on were definitely a high point of my childhood.  It was so much fun being with my fun loving uncle, riding on his scooter and eating wonderful food.  Today my uncle is a vegetarian and I have become a pescatarian.  When I visit Amritsar next year, I will go back to the road side stand with my uncle, but this time I will have the Amritsari Masala Fish.  Of course, followed by the Tutti Frutti and the Pineapple Pastry.

Here is my recreation of the recipe.  In the feature photo I served it on top of Spicy Pan Fried Okra (Bhindi Masala).  It can be served over any vegetable or grain.  In the photo below I have served it over spiced cauliflower and carrots.

Amritsari Masala Fish Feature 1

INGREDIENTS:  Four Servings

  • 4 pieces of firm white fish.  I used Tilapia loins here.
  • Enough Indian Spice Mix to coat the fish.  If you prepare 1/2 cup of spice mix you should have plenty.
  • 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil to coat the fish and 2 tablespoons to coat the non stick skillet.
  • juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

PREPPING THE FISH:

Amritsari Masala Fish Prep

  • Rinse the fish.  Pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper and Indian Spice Mix over the fish
  • Drizzle on a tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • Rub in the spices and flip the fish.  Repeat procedure on the second side.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I have kept the spiced, uncooked fish covered with a plastic wrap in the refrigerator for a day or more.  If the fish is very fresh, it will keep well.  The spices prevent it from going bad.  This is a good way to prep protein ahead of meal time.

I have also used this same method to prepare, chicken, pork chops, lamb and turkey for my husband.  This Indian Spice Mix is very versatile.

COOKING THE FISH:

  • Coat a large non stick skillet with 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and let the oil get hot.  When the oil is ready it will shimmer.
  • Place the spiced fish pieces in the pan.  You should hear a sizzle.
  • Leave the fish alone to let the spicy crust form.  You will see the fish turn opaque halfway up the sides.  This is the time to turn the fish.  DO NOT KEEP MOVING THE FISH, TURN IT ONLY ONCE.
  • Pour over the juice of 1 lime.  Cover the pan with a lid.  Turn the flame to low and cook for about 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Transfer cooked fish on to a platter.  Pour any pan juices over the fish.  Serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • I have also used this recipe to make Indian Fish Tacos.  I will post the fish taco recipe the next time I make it.
  • If you are using this recipe with other proteins, please adjust your cooking time so that a good spice crust forms and the protein is cooked to your liking.

 

Cauliflower Thai Curry

I was inspired to make this curry because my little Kaffir Lime Leaf plant suddenly took off.  In the photo below it is sitting in the peacock planter.  I also had eggplant and orange bell peppers left over from my Chargrilled Veggies recipe.  All these ingredients lend themselves to making Thai Curry.  I served it on a bed of Buckwheat Pilaf

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Thai Curry Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, broken down into small florets
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into pieces about the same size as the cauliflower florets
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro stems, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 inches of fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 10 Kaffir Lime Leaves. Crush them with your fingers just before using.  This will release their oils.
  • 2 green chilies, finely minced.  I leave the seeds in.  De-seed them if you want to tone down the heat.
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of black onion seeds.  These are also called Nigella in English.  In Hindi they are called Kalonji.
  • 1 tablespoon of Thai green curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 3 inches of fresh turmeric which will be grated into the dish.  If you don’t have fresh turmeric you can use a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  • 12 0z bag of Faroe Island scallops.  You can leave these out if you want to make the dish vegan.  I bought my scallops at our local Bastrop, Texas H. E. B.  The company who imports them is Singleton.  The Faroe Islands are between Iceland and Norway in the cold North Atlantic Ocean.  These scallops are a superior product.  They are natural, dry and come flash frozen.
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan
  • 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook:

 

  • Coat a large skillet with grape seed oil.  Add shallots, garlic, ginger, green chilies, cilantro stems, Nigella seeds, zest of the lime, Kaffir lime leaves and 1/2 the cilantro leaves.  Reserve the other half for garnish. Grate in the turmeric.  If you are using powdered turmeric DO NOT add it now.  If we add it now it will burn.  I will tell you later in the recipe when you can add it.
  • Place on medium-low heat and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add the eggplant and sauté for 5 minutes.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 3

  • Add the bell peppers and sauté until slightly brown.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 4

  • Add the tomato paste and the green curry paste.  This is the time to add the turmeric powder if you are not using the fresh turmeric.  Sauté for a few more minutes so that the pastes cook.  Deglaze with the sherry vinegar.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 5

  • Add the cauliflower and sauté until the cauliflower is slightly brown.

 

  • Add the coconut milk along with a little water.  Cover the dish and cook on a low flame until the cauliflower is fork tender.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 8

  • Add the scallops (optional).  Cover and let steam for 3 minutes.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 9

  • Add the lime juice and the reserved cilantro leaves to garnish.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 10

 

It just so happens that this weekend is Songkran, Thai New Year.  This is a traditional curry eaten to celebrate the holiday.  HAPPY SONGKRAN.