I feel like this is a very Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals concept, but I love making takeout food at home. Thai. Chinese. Indian. But if I’m making it at home, I don’t want it to just be as fast as takeout. I want it to be just as easy. That means not a lot of ingredients, and not a lot of standing over a hot wok making things happen.
Here in London, takeout means Indian, and there’s nothing on the menu I love more than Tandoori fish. Marinated in yogurt and spices, seared in a clay pot, it’s heady with spices, light, and just different from anything else. Problem is, it’s also the most expensive thing on the menu.
Recreating it at home is astonishingly easy—and cheap. I make a ridiculously simple marinade of plain yogurt, Garam Masala, and fresh ginger, garlic, and chili. I don’t even chop anything; I just use a grater. Garam Masala is one of those spice blends I keep on hand, along with Ras el Hanout and Five Spice. At the risk of sounding uncouth, I buy a bottle of one of these iconic international spice blends, and in one simple purchase, I can make anything taste Indian, or Moroccan, or Chinese, without having to buy a whole shelf’s worth of spices and measuring out little quarter teaspoons every time I want to make this tandoori salmon. I put two salmon fillets in the marinade, along with a whole bunch of asparagus. It all marinates in the fridge for just 15 minutes, and then I sear them both simultaneously on a hot grill pan. If you don’t have a grill pan, try them under a hot broiler.
While the salmon is cooking, I make basmati rice. To recreate the take out ease, I use, unapologetically I might add, boil-in-a-bag basmati, because it comes out fluffy and is perfectly portioned for two. Then, I tear some cilantro over the top of the fish if I want to get fancy, and may even throw a half lemon on the grill to squirt over the top. This meal is different enough to be exciting, and easy and cheap enough to prevent dialing up the greasy spoon around the corner. Mr. English loved and so did I, so it’s working couple approved. I will definitely be making it again. Bon app!
From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats. Check it out every Friday! Continue reading