Fish. A staple in the Bangladeshi diet; steamed rice and any fish fry or curry with lentil is what most traditional Bengali meals are made of. Fish of course is not the only protein we limit ourselves as the nation loves to feast! I love fish but it can be quite tedious to prep and cook a traditional Bangla fish and I am just lazy. I love me a nice fish curry with the thick gravy (recipe another time) but I also can’t help grilling or steaming a simple sea fish to have with a bowl of steamed rice or even some leftover noodles!
This recipe is a result of one of those crazy tired mid-week moments, when you just can’t wait to dive into that dinner but you gotta cook it first! On such days, I wear my cheat hat to the kitchen to stir up a meal in under 20 minutes thus the leftover noodles (instant noodles).
I am glad the husband had other dinner options on the menu which meant I could experiment all I wanted and get away with it without having the need to actually make a decent meal. This dish turned out pretty good which is why it will not be one of those recipes I tuck away and forget about!
I love the kick of chilli in my food but in this instance I only chose to spice up one of the elements: the noodles. I wanted to be able to taste the salmon’s flaky meat on its own and so refrained from overpowering the fish with strong flavours.Both the noodles and fish were very simply cooked, with no fuss whatsoever. If you find that you don’t have the breadcrumbs in hand, you can always leave the part out and it will just be salmon over the noodles ( or even plain rice) which is an absolutely delish!
For the salmon: Cooking time: 15 minutes
260g salmon fillet
1 slice of bread ( processed to crumbs)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp melted butter
1/2 tsp black pepper ground
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
2 pumps of Oil spray
2tsp fresh coriander finely chopped (use any herb of choice)
Rub the fish in olive oil and the salt, then add in the pepper and the lemon juice. Keep the fish aside while you prepare the breadcrumbs. Toast one slice of bread and make the crumbs by either bashing it up in a plastic bag or in a food processor. Mix the cayenne pepper, chopped coriander and garlic with the breadcrumbs along with melted butter. The butter will help hold the crumb mixture but you can alternatively spray some oil if you don’t want to use the butter.
The fish can be grilled/baked/fried or steamed. I have fried it skin side down in a pan and allowed it to steam over for 5 minutes. I have then placed the fish in a salamander to brown the crusted side, which not only helps cook that side of the fish but also just makes the crust look all golden and beautiful.
Place the fish skin side down on an oil sprayed hot pan, make sure the heat is medium to high which will crisp up the skin side. Spread the breadcrumb mixture in a thin even layer( use a butter knife or a slightly oiled pastry brush) and cover the pan, turning the heat to low. Let it sizzle and steam for 10 minutes. In the last two minutes, uncover and turn the heat high to dry up any liquid released from the fish.
Place the pan directly in the salamander and let it do the magic for 5 minutes or longer if you want the crust to be darker in colour.
Now while your frying/grilling the fish, prep your noodles so that you can serve a warm plate of food.
For the ramen: Cooking time: 10 minutes
85 g pack Instant noodle
Water to boil the noodles
1/2 carrot thinly diced
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chilli sauce
1 chilli finely chopped (optional)
1 lemon wedge
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
This is a quick recipe so we will use the handy kettle for the hot water! In a pan, break one packet of any instant noodles of your choice, pour over the spice from the sachet and the boiling hot water, just enough water to cover all the noodles along with the diced carrots. The carrots bring a sweetness to the dish that is much needed to balance out the heat!
Turn the heat to medium high and add your salt, herbs and chilli sauce. You want to boil the noodles enough to get rid off the water but at the same time keeping it moist. Its better to do this over varying heat, medium to high and alternating in between depending on how much time it takes to soften the noodles. We are not intending to completely cook the carrots, just enough to taste the crunch!
Once done finally add the chopped chilli ( avoid if you can’t take the heat) and turn off the heat. You don’t want to serve the noodles out on a dish already because it will just become sticky and cold. If you want to soften your carrots a bit, then I suggest cover the hot pan and let the the moisture cook up the carrots.
Assembling the dish:
While your fish is in the salamander, heat up the pan of noodles and get your serving plate out. Dish out the noodles in a plate and very carefully lift down the fish from the pan. Sprinkle a wedge of lemon and a pinch of fresh herbs over the fish and noodles, now devour that fish with the hot noodles.