Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Salmon Poached in Spinach

Salmon Poached in Spinach
It’s true, we do eat a lot of salmon, so sometimes I need to change it up a bit.  I had a huge craving for spinach, salmon and masoor dal, which is a rather odd combination, especially since I cooked it all in one pot.
Masoor dal cooks so quickly, and it adds both depth and fabulous nutrients, so I like to use it fairly often, although I’m not a fan of regular dal.  (Shhhhh, let’s keep that a secret!)  I’m happy to report that my healthy and delicious recipe was a success.  Hopefully yours will be too!
The Masala 1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
3 pieces cassia
4 cloves
3 green cardamoms, crushed and bashed
1 black cardamom, husked and bashed
½ teaspoon black cumin seed
1 flake mace
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon black salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried chillies
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Put the last three ingredients into a spice grinder, then roast the other ingredients in a large dry pan, on medium high heat.  As soon as they start to smell good, and give off a few wisps of smoke, add them to the mixture in the spice grinder.  You can whiz them into a powder once you’ve got the rest going.
Most food bloggers are my daughter’s age.  Here’s a picture of my spice grinder, which began its days as a coffee grinder.  It’s as old as my daughter, and therefore most bloggers.  The yellowing is the result of its being made of old, old, old plastic and grinding masalas for the last thirty three years…
The Rest
1 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon ghee
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon cumin seed
1 inch ginger, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 packages frozen chopped spinach  (later in season, use fresh)
½ cup water
¼ cup masoor dal (small orange lentils)
4 fillets salmon
1 tiny lime, juiced
While that pan is still hot from the masala, add the mustard oil.  After a few moments, test its heat by adding a few mustard seeds.  If they sizzle and whiten, add them all, then immediately add the cumin.  It will immediately sizzle and whiten too, so cool it down by adding the ginger and onions, stirring, and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the onion till it softens and caramelises  While that’s happening, whiz those spices in the grinder!  Add the garlic and cook a few minutes.  Add the ghee and freshly ground masala, and cook a few more minutes, stirring gently.  Add the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes.  Because I was using frozen spinach, I added the water, stirred, then the masoor dal, then the frozen spinach.  I covered the pan, and twenty minutes later, was able to stir the thawed spinach.  At that point, I added the salmon fillets, and cooked them gently till they were no longer translucent, and flaked with a fork.  (Another confession, almost as bad as not liking traditional dal, I don’t like my salmon the way sophisticated types do—I overcook by some people’s standards.)  Stir the lime juice in, just before serving.
If I had been working with fresh spinach, I would have let the dal cook about ten minutes, then I would have added both the spinach and the fish at the same time.  No use overcooking that spinach!  It’s much healthier when cooked for less time, and combined with the health benefits of the salmon, this recipe will positively power you right up!
PS.  I have kale waiting to be planted as soon as the frost threats end, and I’m looking forward to posting lots of kale recipes.  I like it as much as spinach, which I’ve never had much success with in the garden.  My red kale that I started from seed looks dismal, so I bought some regular kale already started.  I’ll plant all of it, because sometimes the dismal plants get very happy in a real garden.
My red kale is in the front pots.  Dismal, so far!


  1. That looks really yummy...http://megdeliciousadventures.blogspot.in/

    1. Thanks Meg. A little of your mango salsa would be very delicious with this, I think!

  2. the recipe sounds really yummy, nice one

  3. Kanan, thanks for visiting my blog. Your recipes look amazing. Great pictures too!