AIF (the pen of ‘Truly Scrumptious’) has asked us to write this edition’s offering, whilst she is gallivanting around in South East Asia. We consider this to be a great honour, but a very daunting task, given the amazing articles she consistently writes, and the delectable recipes she brings to the Donheads.
The location of her vacation and the produce from Semley Fête have inspired this edition’s recipe. What, you may ask, was the produce from Semley Fête? Well, it took the form of two coconuts won at the shy, by dead eye Dick, who thought he’d done particularly well until he learned that Simon Lewis had come away with three!
So, what to do with the coconuts? The first problem being how to get into them without resorting to throwing them against the wall? Hopefully we can demystify the process and enable everyone to make good use of this excellent culinary ingredient.
First, extract the coconut water from within by piercing two of the dark coloured ‘eyes’ at one end of the coconut with a sturdy skewer (you may need to encourage it to penetrate with a tap or two from a hammer). Drain the liquid into a jug and reserve. Next, using your hammer, tap the nut all around, not too robustly, but enough to start the shell cracking and separating from the inner flesh. The idea is to break the outer shell without damaging the flesh inside. Peel away the hard outer layer and you should now have a brown coloured inner nut. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the brown outer skin leaving the delicious white flesh. You may be tempted to taste it at this point!
We are now going to create coconut milk, which we can use in our recipes. Put the flesh in chunks into a blender with your coconut water, made up to 225ml with water, and grind well for a couple of minutes, until the water and coconut are well integrated. Pour the contents into a sieve placed over a bowl and with the back of a spoon push as much of the liquid as possible through.
What you now have is a thick milk, called the first extract. Return the shreds to the blender with another 225ml of water and blend again and sieve to get the second extract. Repeat this process to get the third extract. The residue shreds can be toasted in the oven and used as desiccated coconut and then can even be ground up for use as flour.
So, good luck at the coconut shies and use your winnings by trying out the recipe on the next page!
rle & kse
Bengali Fish in a Mild Coconut Gravy
Approx. £9.50 when all ingredients bought at Buttlings & Ludwell Stores.
This dish is inspired by Anjum Anand, whose book, Indian Food Made Easy, does exactly that! The cost will obviously depend on your accuracy at the coconut shy! We love the heat and pungency of the green chillies, but if your taste is for less hot fare, then use fewer chillies, or leave them out altogether. If you have failed to win any coconuts, you can substitute with shop-bought coconut milk and coconut cream.
First obtain your coconut milk as described earlier.
2 Medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
8 g Fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
6 Green cardamom pods
2 Large shards of cinnamon
3 tbsp Vegetable oil
2 Large cloves of garlic, peeled and made into a paste
3–6 Green chillies, slit lengthwise, but left whole
¾ tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander powder
350–400 ml Coconut milk (2nd and 3rd extracts), or canned coconut milk
Salt, to taste
1 tsp Sugar, or to taste
600 g White fish fillets, such as haddock 50–100 ml
Coconut milk (1st extract), or shop-bought coconut cream
Preheat the oven to 190°C / gas mark 5. (AGA – absolutely no idea!)
1. Blend the onions with the ginger to a fine paste.
2. Grind together 2 cloves, 3 cardamom pods and 1 cinnamon shard in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
3. Heat oil in large non-stick pan. Add the remaining whole spices and fry for 20 seconds or until fragrant.
4. Add onion paste and fry over a medium heat, stirring frequently until golden brown (approx. 10 minutes). It is important that the onions are cooked through.
5. Add garlic, chillies, turmeric, coriander powder and a splash of water and cook for 1 minute.
6. Stir in 2nd and 3rd extract coconut milk (or canned), and salt and sugar, bring to a boil and then simmer over a low heat for 3–4 minutes.
7. Meanwhile oil an ovenproof dish and arrange fish fillets within.
8. Pour the gravy to cover the fish and bake in the oven for approx. 10 minutes until the fish is just done.
9. Remove from oven and stir in your 1st extract coconut milk (or shop-bought coconut cream) and reserved spices.
Serve with plain rice and nice green steamed vegetables or a salad. You can, of course, use this gravy as a basis for any fish, shellfish or prawn dish – delicious!
A truly, truly scrumptious and creative fish dish.
These musings and recipes are gleaned from The Donhead Digest with the permission of AIF, their author.