Just back from some work travels and while it was bordering on insane to be travelling to the badlands of UP and the fields of Maharashtra in 45C weather, it was also immensely satisfying to be able to talk to farmers and be out and about on their fields. We had some visitors from abroad and they were mighty impressed by how much we do with so little on our hands. I am especially proud of the Maharashtrian farmers we met - progressive, enterprising, intelligent and so hardworking. And the women are equal in almost every sense of the word!!!
So, though I said my previous post would be the last one for a while, I have time to squeeze in just one more before I leave this weekend.
The meals I love best are the ones I plan at short notice - the ones that are cooked on the basis of what I feel like eating right then. Not as per the pre-planned menu made at the beginning of the week, not because there are some eggplants lying in the crisper which need to be used up right away and not because we have had three nights of rotis, so its time for rice!
A few weeks back, while Hubby was doing dinner with our daughter (which meant that the whole household got to hear The Three Billy Goats Gruff in a loud baritone!) I unwound after getting home from work. A conscious effort on my part to avoid treating the whole evening "routine" as well, a routine! and to make sure I get some "off" time of my own atleast once or twice a week.
Well, after a bit I decided to see if I could make something different for dinner (of course the idea of putting my feet up loses its sheen after the the first half an hour!). Got some fish out of the freezer to thaw and decided to bake it. So I pounded together coriander, green chillies, peppercorns and salt to marinate the fish in. Once that was done, I wondered if the fish fillets would be enough; remembered I had a packet of ready-to-cook Phad Thai somewhere and got that out. The idea was to bake the marinated fish and then serve it on the Phad Thai noodles. The fish was flaky and tender and went very well with the spicy sweet Phad Thai. I would definitely do this dinner again - especially on a week night - it hardly took about an hour from start to finish to make.
The Phad Thai I used was the Real Thai brand - they have sauces, rice noodles, rice vermicelli and even rice paper rounds with which I have made steamed Vietnamese rolls. The packet has flat noodles which need to be immersed in hot water for about 10 minutes till softened; also a packet of the spices for the Phad Thai - sweet and spicy and with the taste of peanuts. I sauteed some onions in oil and then added the Phad Thai spice mix to it, a splash of water before tossing the cooked noodles into it - adjust salt with care since the spice mix has salt in it. Perfect combination. And the perfect unwinder for my evening :)
Baked Fish with Phad Thai
2 fillets of fish (Feeds two) - I cut the fillets into two, but you can keep it whole.
Marinade - pound together
Coriander leaves - handful
Green chillies - 2-3
Peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Lime juice - of one lime
1 tbsp -olive oil
1. Apply the marinade on the fillets and marinate for 10-15 minutes
2. Pre heat oven to 180C (350F), bake the fish fillet in a covered oven proof dish for 35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile take One packet (130gm) Phad Thai noodles
4. Soak the noodles in hot water for 25 minutes. Drain, and keep aside.
5. Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in a wok, add half a cup of sliced onions and fry for 3 minutes.
6. Add the seasoning from the Phad Thai noodles and fry for a minute
7. Add 4 tbsp of water and heat through, add the cooked noodles and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
8. Add a handful of chopped coriander and turn off the flame.
9. Portion out the noodles onto two plates. Place one baked fillet each on top of the noodles.
10. Pour the drippings from the oven proof dish over the fillets.