February 5, 2008

KARI IKAN (Malay Fish curry), MW CHANA-PALAK DAL



Kari Ikan, a Malaysian Fish curry subtlely flavored with Star Anise, is my contribution to Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog's "Think Spice..Think.." event. This month's spice is "Star Anise". Thanks for hosting Sunita!:)


I usually do not buy Fish at all. I know how healthful Fish oil is for us. So finally two week's ago, I decided to buy Cod fish and cook a few dishes with it. This is one of them. I chose to make a Malaysian curry which is similar to Indian Fish curry. I know Sunita won't mind non-veg dishes, here is my first ever Fish entry!! Vegetarians can use the gravy with veggies. We certainly loved the taste!:)

About Star Anise:
Star anise is native to China and Vietnam, now Star anise is used in the East as well as in the West as aniseed, although with liquorice-like aroma, Satr Anise is more pungent and stronger than anise seeds. The star Anise are available as whole or ground to a powder. A very small amount is used in cooking as the spice has very powerful aroma, usually not more than 1/2 tsp at a time in any dish. Star Anise is a part of "Chinese Five spice" powder and also used in Indian "Garam masala". Stored whole in airtight containers, it keeps well for over a year. Star anise is known to have diuretic properties. In the East, it is used to combat colic and rheumatism. It is a common addition for medicinal teas, cough mixtures. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it's called Bunga lawang. For more info, refer to WIKIPEDIA.

Kari Ikan, a Malaysian Fish curry:
This recipe is mostly adapted from "Woman's day" magazine with my changes and additions.

You need:
1 tbsp oil,
1-2 dry red chillies,
1 onion chopped,
1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped,(or you can use Lemon juice instead at the end of the cooking)
2 garlic cloves, grated,
1" fresh Galangal or ginger, grated,
1/2 tsp dry red chilli powder,(or Paprika)
1/2 tsp turmeric,
1 can of coconut milk,(or 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Fish stock or water if you don't have it,
3-4 fillets of Cod, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp Star Anise powder or 1/4 tsp if you don't like the strong flavor,
Cilantro,
Few chopped basil leaves.

To make the Fish curry:
1. Heat oil, add red chillies, onion chopped, saute until softened. Add ginger, garlic, lemon grass, turmeric, chilli powder. Turn down the heat.
2. Add coconut milk, 1 cup of water, bring it simmer and let it simmer for 15 mins until the coconut mixture smells good and the sauce slightly thickens.
3. Add salt and fish pieces. Cover and cook until Fish cooks , for 5 mins or so. Add all the herbs and Star Anise powder, mix well.
4. That's it! It tastes better the next day. Serve it with Jasmine rice to be authentic or long grain rice if you don't have Jasmine.
Enjoy!:))


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Microwaved Chana Palak dal is my entry to "Microwave Easy cooking", which is hosted by Srivalli of "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "Greens" this month. Thanks Sri!:)


I made an easy and delcious dal with Chana dal, Spinach and Dill greens in the microwave for Sri's "Greens" event and served this with thick Parathas. Except Tuar dal, which is the toughest dal to cook in the MW as I found out, you can use Moong dal, Masoor dal very easily in the MW in this tasty recipe.
This dal makes a great dipping or scooping sauce if you keep the gravy thicker for the Parathas. I also did not season this dish as I do usually since it's little hard to season using a MW but you could make the seasoning on the stove top and add it to this dal if you like. I replaced the seasoning with 1 tbsp of ghee added to the dal while cooking the dal and greens!:)

Chana dal,Palak and dill dal, microwaved!!

You need:
1 cup Chana dal/spilt peas/Bengal gram dal, Soaked in hot water for 2 hrs,
1 big bunch of fresh Spinach or a box of frozen, chopped,
1 cup Dill leaves, chopped,
1 tbsp ghee or butter,
1 small onion, finely chopped,
2 tsp Ginger paste,
2 green chillies minced or 1/2 tsp chilli pd,
1 1/2 tsp Dhana-jeera pd,(or 1 tsp coriander seeds powder and 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds pd)
1/2 tsp garam masala,
Salt and cilantro.
1 tsp lemon juice to top.

To make dal:
1. Rinse and drain the soaked Chana dal, add to a big enough microwavable glass bowl. Add all the greens, butter or ghee, onion, ginger, green chillies if you using and add enough water about 3-4 cups to cover the dal mix, cover with a lid slightly open on the edge and cook on high for 10 mins.
2. Open the lid, mix well with spoon. Cover and cook again for another 10 mins or more until chana dal is soft and greens are cooked. Add a little bit more water only if needed. Dal doesn't have to be mushy but must be cooked soft.
3. When dal is soft, add all the dry spices, salt and herbs. Cook for 5 or more mins with the lid on until you get a thickish sauce. Adjust the spices.
4. Serve sprinkled with lemon juice and with thick Parathas or rotis to scoop up the dal. Tastes better after few hours sitting on the counter.

Have a great week!:)

62 comments:

Daily Meals said...

Nice entries Asha! The dal looks so delicioous and colourful.

Laavanya said...

The dhal looks delicious Asha and am sure I could have it just plain.

Nags said...

I still havent figured out what dill is.. Hoping to get a microwave soon so that I can cook using it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Asha,
no more wednesday posts is it? between tried ur kodubale's and they were delicious.thanks for the recipe.

shalini

Siri said...

The dal looks so comforting Ashaji and I love the combo of dal n parathas. Now that I have seen this dal.. ( n I have frozen parathas in the freezer!).. am gonna make this palak dal now and have for my breakfast. Yupee!

Siri

Asha said...

Vijaya, Laavi, Nags,Shalini, thanks girls!:)

Shalini, no more Wednesday but will post whenever I have a post ready, probably 3-4 posts a month at FH!

Nags, in Hindi dill is called Suwa bhaji, Sappseege soppu in Kannada. I have a photo at FH, if you google Dill there!:)

easycrafts said...

The dal is so tempting and would taste great with rotis...

sra said...

Hi Asha, how are you? Haven't been able to get into the blogs since I came back a couple of days ago - Internet problems. See you around!

indosungod said...

Asha, Fish curry looks awesome, never used star anise in Fish curries, usually use it only in Briyanis, that too whole.

Sia said...

i am still wondering what to cook with star anisee and u have already posted ur recipe! that was very quick ones. and yum yum to that palak, dill and channa dal.

Asha said...

Siri, EC, sra, Indo, enjoy!:)

Indo, powdered Star Anise has powerful aroma, just like powdered Lavang (cloves). It's better to use sparingly!:)

TBC said...

That's a good idea.(using dill like that) I have some too...

Vanamala said...

Asha i liked the method of chana palak dal. will try it.

sunita said...

Asha, thanks for your lovely fish recipe...we are really 'fishy' people ;-)

Asha said...

Sia, star Anise can be added whole to masala Chai too, not much you can do with a strong spice like this one except adding a bit here and there!:)

I love Dill tbc,not everybody likes the unique taste and smell.I keep throwing it into everything I can think of!:D

Asha said...

Try it Mala, add seasoning to make it taste even better!:)

Sumita, fish is fat free and healthy too! I really wanted to cook fish dish after looking at all those dishes in your blog and Sig's! We liked it, will cook more! Cod has lot less fishy smell than others so it's all good!:))

Sig said...

Well, well, well look who is cooking fish curry... :) I am glad you enjoyed it Asha, there is a wide variety of fish dishes you can cook now... LOVE everything about malaysian cuisine, and yeah, they do use a lot of star anise...

Mishmash ! said...

I want that fish curry now...its lunch time here :)

Anonymous said...

your fish curry looks good. asha if you eat prawns ,try out the thai prawn coconut milk soup, it is spicy& delicious! your madurai kozhi kozhumbhu has become a regular over here!:))
paati

vimmi said...

Fish curry looks delicious. will make it for my H who loves fish. I also made palak with chana dal and was going to post that. But not MW version.

KayKat said...

Asha, you're amazing! You always have these spreads of many different dishes :)

That dal looks great, but I might be one of those who cuts back on the anise!

Happy cook said...

First time fish in the blog asha.
Looks so delicious and creamy.
I too don't make fish that often and when i make it is belgian recipes, Hans don't like our fish curry.
Dal with dill that is something i've never done.
Mostly i use dill for making sauce for fish.
Am on a brerak for a week as shyama is having carnival holidays

Richa said...

dal looks d-lish! chana & palak make a very good pair.
though i like dill, it has not become a staple weekly ingredient yet ;)

Asha said...

Hehehe!! Sig, thanks to you girl! I just got tired of looking at your yummy dishes and made it at last! Glad I did. My son loves Cat fish he ate in a diner once, must try that but scared of that "unique" smell. I will try Tilapia next!:)

shn, take it, take it!;D
I like Malaysian dishes, almost like our Indian dishes with little different ingredients!:)

Paati, I have tasted Prawns before but American style dipped in cocktail sauce, will try your recipe. Glad you liked the Chicken dish!:)

Asha said...

Vimmi, you will love the taste, try it,you can always adjust the spices as you like it. Love to see your palak dal too, MW has limited use of course, can't do tadka properly!:)

Kay, love to try different things than the usual. Yeah, cut down to 1/4 tsp, it does have strong smell, not everybody's cup of tea!:)

Asha said...

F, enjoy the break, sha must be happy to get some time off!:)
I just booked a hotel at the beach too today for Spring hols which is coming at the end of March, kids have 10days off.
Dill and lemon on Fish and baked, I have seen the dish on TV, must be good. Yeah, Indian spices are strong for delicate Fish, no wonder Hans doesn't like it!:D

Richa, Dill has peculiar taste and smell, not everybody likes it. For me, it brings back memories of B'lore, I grab a bunch wherever and whenever I get it!:D

masalamagic said...

both entries looks good Asha!

Asha said...

Hi Latha, thanks. Yes, we really enjoyed the game, it was exciting this year, ate a lot too!;D

Seema said...

Lovely fish curry! Liked the gravy...looks yum!Dhal looks great.. i never cooked with dill, must try it out.

Asha said...

Seema, make Tuar dal, green beans and dill sambhar! You will love it!:)

Kalai said...

Great ideas, Ashakka! Wonderfully creative with the fish curry! Am racking my brains for an idea with star anise. Dal looks yummy, too! :)

Rajitha said...

i love chana-dal..but it takes forever to cook...presoaking sure will help! never cooked in MW tho...

Maya said...

Fish curry looks yummm, since I like fish so much ;)..Like ur recipe of dal..Will try it ..

Deepak Gopi said...

I have directed one of my blogger friend 2 your blog.
She thinks that i am a great cook :):).Only thing I know in kitchen is
to make tea :):):).
Good day

Purnima said...

Asha, the paalak daal I make is different n you hv mw it! Didn't know properties of star anise! tks for sharing! :)

Asha said...

Kalai, you can throw Star Anise whole in any dish, gives it a nice flavor, powder should be used carefully!:)

Rajitha, try it. Except Toor dal, other dals are easy to cook in the MW!:)

Maya, I just started cooking fish, it's not easy to like the fishy smell but I like the taste!:D

Asha said...

Hi Deepak, so good to see you. It's been a long time since you posted!:)
She must REALLY REALLY like you then!! Hahaha!!! Thanks, hope she likes my recipes too!:))

Purnima, thank you. Some dishes are easy to cook in the MW, most are not practical. This recipe is good and you can cook within minutes!! Try it!:)

Bharathy said...

God!The recipe of the fish curry is very nice!..
Almost like ppl make in Kerala--with coconut milk base!..
Love the veg curry too :)

Bharathy said...

Oh yes!, u are absolutely right asha.I came across Dil in Coorg..somehow I dint like its flavour!..May be it tastes and smells good in Dishes..Dill is uncommon in kerala and TN

Asha said...

Bharathy, it is almost like Kerala curry but not as good like your's!:)

I was surprised to know that Dill is not available in other states as well. It's a very familiar veg in K'taka somehow. Strange, huh? :))

Pravs said...

star anise in fish curry...so different. Love all fish preparations..so will have to try this. Wonder, if you soak toor dal prior cooking, if it will help in fast cooking in MW. Looks yum !

AnuSriram said...

The dhal is just perfect for rotis. Looks delicious...

Asha said...

Pravs, just a touch of that spice, too much will turn bitter!:)
I have tried soaking the Toor too, cooked it in the MW for an hr and still you don't get that dal mashed like you want in Sambhar! Very very stubborn dal!:D

It does taste great with Parathas Anu, got to make the gravy a little thick!:)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I just love star anise, from its flavor to its appealing shape. Thanks for another fabulous recipe, Asha.

Dhanggit said...

good looking entries Asha!! the fish curry with star anise sounds really lovely!! i'm sure my hubby will enjoy this recipe thanks :-)

Archana said...

i like the microwave palak dal, though i don't do microwave cooking. It looks delicious. and great pictures.

Raaga said...

Wow... I am able to view your blog after ages... nice recipes... and I have a palak dish for the microwave too :-) same pinch Ashakka!!

Asha said...

Susan, Dhanggit, Archana, Raaga thanks girls. Glad you liked it. Enjoy the weekend!:)

Raaga, good to hear that you could view my blogs now!:)

Sagari said...

microwave dhal looks sooooooo yummy ashaji ,love with roti

Asha said...

Great accompaniment with rotis and parathas Sagari, hope you make it!:))

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hay Asha.....This is really a great job....How can u cook so much.....Delish!.....I love that fish curry....

Asha said...

Hi Sukanya, I have to cook for 4 people everyday anyway, I will just plan around these events.There are so many of them now!:)
Enjoy the weekend.

Kribha said...

Yay Asha.... Fish in your kitchen! So, now I can expect more of your versions in the seafood category too. Looks super good. Dal recipe is new to me. Thanks for posting it.

Asha said...

Thanks Kribha!:)
I made Crab cakes before at FH but this is my first ever fish dish. It's fat free and has healthy oil in it, so trying to include in our diet too.

Linda said...

One word, Asha.

YUM :)

Asha said...

Thanks Linda, happy Monday to you!:))

Meera said...

Fish curry looks delicious!! Now I am hungry! Palak daal is yummy too.

Asha said...

Thanks Meera,hope you try. I just posted my new dish!:))

Rina said...

Should try out this style fish curry...ashaji

Asha said...

Do try Rina, almost like Indian curry except Anise!:)

srivalli said...

Fish looks good Asha, but I love the colour of my dal..thank you so much for such a lovely looking dish for MEC.

-Srivalli

Asha said...

Glad you liked the dal Sri, enjoy rounding up!:)