One of the best things about living on an island is the abundance of fresh seafood. Even better, on this island you can find a plethora of whole and ground spices in the souk for pocket change. Even though I know they won’t keep forever, I’m already daydreaming about what I will ship home when it comes time to leave (spices only…not the fish!). And, since I can find all those whole spices, why not try my hand at making my own curry powders, like this machali masala.
Fresh tomatoes, on the other hand, are harder to come by since it’s so hot here, especially tomatoes that haven’t been refrigerated. So, the other day made a chutney out of them, which I’ve been eating on pretty much everything until I can find a mold to make idlis.
Now, back to the seafood and spices… Thakkali chatni is also a perfect complement to mild flavored seafood. Put them all together, and you have a healthy, quick, and tasty weeknight supper.
Curry Dusted Scallops with Spicy Tomato Chutney
I first experienced bhajia in Mombasa, then as pakora in India, and then as dhaltjies in Durban. I love finding food that has traveled from one continent to another and in one bite recognizing a taste of the original with a new twist you maybe weren’t expecting but find just as pleasurable.
These bhajia, stuffed with broccoli and cauliflower, are really just another variation on the theme. I ran out of garbanzo bean flour and wondered what would happen with canned chickpeas. You can pan fry or deep fry them if you want that street food feel, but since the ingredients are so healthy to begin with, it seems a shame to coat them in oil.
I can never decide which chutney I like better, so I usually end up dipping one side of the bhajia in a cilantro mint chutney and the other in a tamarind date chutney.
Craving curry but don’t want to slave over the stove top on a hot summer day? Here’s a quick and easy tandoori paste that you can use next time you grill chicken, salmon, or tofu. Just rub it on your protein of choice and let marinate a half hour (or up to 24 hours), then grill away from direct heat. For that smoky flavor, add wood chips to the grill coals (or a handful of soaked wood chips in a foil pack with vents for you gas grill users).
Serve alongside grilled or pan roasted zucchini slices with seasoned basmati rice.