Have an aromatic and very easily put together Sri Lankan fish curry with green rice any day of the week with this recipe using quality frozen fish. Don’t eat fish? This is also superb with tempeh.
Fish on a Monday? Really? Is this wise?
Like going out to eat on a Monday, eating fish on a Monday is one of those things that food-savvy folk don’t tend to do. Certainly in the UK. As the boats don’t go out on Sundays, proper fish shops are shut the following day. Of course supermarkets will sell you fish, especially in finger-slitting vacuum packs (do you struggle with these too?), but fresh fish with plump eyes and shiny scales will not be found unless you catch it yourself.
You can however have the next best thing (and sometimes it is the best thing) if you open your freezer.
Frozen fish can be a byword for mushy fish, but if treated right frozen is as good as what you can get fresh Tuesday through Saturday. Pinky promise.
Are you still nervous of frozen fish? Don’t be. A few simple pointers can save you from the horrors of chewy cod and baby food bass.
- Use it in the right recipe. Frozen fish isn’t going to suit every recipe, but where it does suit, it can hold up even better than fresh; for instance, this Sri Lankan Fish Curry. When I use fresh fish I have to be very careful when cooking it that the fish doesn’t fall to bits (i.e. babyfood). But with frozen fillets, it really does stay as a whole fillet unless disturbed by a greedy spoon whilst cooking.
- If you crave crisp skin, fresh is always going to win.
- Actually cook from frozen. Be bold! Does it work well when you defrost first? Didn’t think so. Rinse off any ice crystals from your frozen fish with cold water, pat dry and use as you would fresh, but generally adding a bit more time.
- For sauteed fish, your best bet is to brush the patted-dry fish with a little oil, add it to a hottish pan – skin side up – and cook, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes. Flip the fish and season, then add a lid and continue cooking on a slightly lower heat for 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
- If you want to roast the fish, oil it and lay on a crumpled foil-lined tray. The crumpling lets the circulating air of a fan oven get underneath and allows the water to come out and away from the fish. Cook until done – depends on thickness, but you shouldn’t need to flip it. Add the seasoning/marinade after the first five minutes of cooking.
- Quality frozen fish – like my red snapper from Iceland Foods – will not hold much water, so there is less risk of a soggy, insipid result. The results of my numerous experiments with Iceland frozen fish have been uniformly excellent. Anyone who has had their fish lately will know that it doesn’t taste at all frozen. Just of the lovely fish! I have done a fish pie as well as Creole fish, and I have to say that both turned out just as I had hoped: exactly like I always make them.
- Use less liquid. For this curry, I cut out the coconut milk and replaced it with coconut powder, and only 100ml of vegetable stock. Use your best judgment, but generally at about two-thirds the liquid for a sauce is a good idea
- If you want to know about other ways to cook frozen fish, wildalaskaseafood.com has a great guide.
If you have been reading Food To Glow the past wee while you will know that I have been working with Iceland Foods. I have tried various trendy vegetables (artichoke hearts! rainbow carrots! kale!), sweet potato burgers, prepared frozen grain mixes, herbs, staples like onions (a freezer must!) and garlic, and this past week it has been fish. I really wasn’t expecting to see the likes of sea bass and red snapper. As with the past recipes, using their frozen fish has been an eye opener (I think I may have used this phrase in every post so far!). It was not a compromise on taste or quality, despite it being quite a bit less expensive than fresh.
I was also very pleased that their red snapper is wild caught. This isn’t the case for all of their fish, so do check the label if these things matter to you. I hope it is the start of a wider move to more ethically sourced fish.
So, fish on a Monday? Absolutely. And Tuesday, and Wednesday…
Sri Lankan-style Fish Curry with Green Rice
Have an aromatic and very easily put together creamy Sri Lankan fish curry with green rice any day of the week with this recipe using quality frozen fish. Don’t eat fish? This is also superb with tempeh (se below for advice). The green rice, using frozen spinach and herbs, is also good leftover for breakfast with a poached egg.
This recipe is easily increased, but you want to keep the fish in a single layer and perhaps add a bit more cooking time.
Red snapper doesn’t have a high Omega 3 content, so if you want more of this anti-inflammatory nutrient, try salmon or sea bass. Here is a great ranking of Omega 3 in fish from seafish.org. xx
2 frozen red snapper fillets or similar sturdy fish, any ice rinsed off and the fillets patted dry
1 tbsp best quality rapeseed oil or groundnut oil
1oog chopped frozen or fresh onion (1 small onion)
2 tbsp chopped frozen or fresh garlic
1 tbsp mustard seeds (black, if you have a choice)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek powder – optional but very very good
1 fresh or frozen green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (one more will make it hotter, of course)
1 tsp ground turmeric
10 or so fresh or dried curry leaves (dried found in the global food section of supermarkets and fresh and dried in Asian markets)
70g coconut milk powder (available in the global foods section of most supermarkets and at Asian supermarkets – very useful stuff)
2 tbsp tamarind pulp or paste (available as above) – optional but very good
200ml light vegetable stock
Handful of flavoursome cherry tomatoes, halved
Lime wedges (especially important if not using tamarind)
1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Get out a medium-sized heavy ceramic, lidded dish or a Pyrex dish – something that will accommodate the frozen fish fillets.
2. Heat a wok or saute pan over a low-medium flame, add the oil. When hot add the onion and saute until most of the water evaporates; add the garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek powder, green chilli, curry leaves and turmeric. Let this cook for a further two minutes, then stir in the coconut powder and tamarind pulp, followed by the stock.
3. Put the rinsed and dried fish into the dish and pour over the curry sauce. Add in the halved tomatoes. Put in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the rice, if having.
4. Serve with lime wedges, green rice and steamed fresh vegetables.
Vegan variation: use tempeh in place of the fish, cutting this uber-nutritious, Japanese soy product into planks or cubes as you wish. Follow the recipe as is.
This vegetable packed baked rice is a perfect, herbal accompaniment to many savoury, protein-based dishes. But most especially fish.
1 tbsp best rapeseed or groundnut oil
50g chopped frozen or fresh onions
150g brown basmati and wild rice mix OR brown basmati rice
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp each frozen or fresh finely chopped parsley and coriander (replace the parsley with basil if liked)
3 cubes of frozen spinach OR 3 good handsful of fresh spinach
1 tsp whole cloves
A few good grinds of black pepper
275 ml boiling water
1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy-lidded, oven-proof pot. Add the onions and cook until the moisture is mostly gone. Add the rice, salt, herbs, spinach, cloves, pepper and cook – stirring – for three minutes. Add the boiling water. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and pop in the oven.
3. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Serve hot.
Other Fish & Seafood Recipes from my fellow #PowerofFrozen food bloggers:
**With grateful thanks to Stoke-on-Trent Potteries-based 1882 Ltd for the gorgeous blue and white ceramic bowls. Aren’t they just beautiful?**
Iceland has commissioned me to develop healthy and exciting recipes for their #PowerofFrozen campaign. As always, all thoughts, opinions and recommendations are honestly given.