Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Seafood Soup

Sea Food & Mushroom Soup

Seafood and Mushroom Soup

I love soup and I am also crazy about sea food. When both of them come together, the result is mind blowing.

This was my first experiment on soup and it came out better than I expected. Many of my experiment go horribly wrong but then I learn from them.

For a serving for two you would need :

Prawn 500gms
2 Medium size pomfrets
juice of 1 lemon
Fish Sauce (Optional)

Fresh Mushrooms 250 gms, finely sliced
Two Carrots, Sliced
Fresh/Dried Parsley

For the Broth
1 Medium Onion, sliced or roughly chopped
6 Black Peppercorns
2 Bay leaves
1/2 Star anise, crushed/powdered

Salt and Pepper to taste

The idea here is to use your own imagination rather than following a strict recipe.

For this soup I needed

1. A good broth
2. Seafood
3. Some aromatic herbs, spices and veggies if you like.

For the seafood I selected jumbo prawns and pomfret.
Pomfret is very fleshy and has a natural saline tang to it.
I wanted to add the likes of crab meat as well but thought to restrict it to two. You can choose any combination you like for the seafood.
Cleaning the prawn is an important step. Make sure you de-vein and de-shell it and separate the head (which I used to make the broth). Discard the vein.

I cooked the pomfret and the prawn (just the meat part after de-shelling) first after a very brief marination with lemon juice and fish sauce.
The idea was to use the bones of the pomfret along with the prawn shells and head for the broth. Use vegetable oil with little butter to shallow fry the pomfrets and then just saute the prawn. Prawns are very delicate and cook very fast. Its important not to over cook them as they lose their texture. Any fish undercooked is always better than an over cooked one.

I usually don't use non-stick pan when I make meat items. It leaves behind residue which sticks to the pan. Although you may think that it is non desirable, we get a lot of flavour from this residue, which in cooking term is called a 'fond'.

We 'deglaze' the pan to extract the flavours from the fond and use it to make sauce etc.

In this case I deglazed it with a bit of broth which was already running on the other gas and added the carrots and the mushrooms.

For the Broth :

Use a deep pan with 3/4 water in it.
Add onions, sliced or chopped
Bay Leaves
Black peppercorns
Chopped stems of fresh parsley (the leaves are only to garnish. The flavour of the herb is in the root/stem)
Prawn shells, prawn heads and the bones of pomfrets
Star Anise if you like (It gives a very beautiful robust flavour and goes well with this combo)

Bring the broth to a boil and simmer it for about half an hour. Leave it to be reduced to half ,occasionally stirring it and removing the froth that surfaces.

As mentioned earlier, deglaze the fond on the pan with a little broth and add the carrots and mushrooms.

In a serving bowl, bring together the fish pieces, mushrooms and veggies.

Strain the broth and discard the prawn shells and bones.

Add salt and pepper as desired to the broth.

To thicken the soup you can prepare 'beurre maine' by adding a tbsp of all purpose flour to a tbsp of melted butter on a hot pan. Combine well to form a honeycomb like testure.

Add pinch by pinch to the broth, whisking it constantly till the broth thickens to your desired level.

Pour over the bowl and garnish with finely chopped parsley leaves.

(I made a mistake by adding too much chopped fresh parsley leaves. I earlier used the dried version and went by that calculation. The fresh parsley are a lot more stronger in flavour and better. I corrected this mistake on the next soup I made).

Hope this helps. Feel free to give any suggestions to enhance and add to the soupy experience or ask any questions you may have. Look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers & Slurp


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Welcome to Sweet 'n' Savoury

As we know food is a common denominator that unites our family and our whole world seem to revolve around it. Keeping this in mind Amrita and I have initiated this blog so that all of us can share the 'togetherness factor' amidst our everyday chaotic lifestyle.

Cooking (and eating) for us is truly a stress buster and a common platform that unites our family. The inspiration, teaching and example is best witnessed in our parents who selflessly and passionately make outstanding meals day in and day out.

Since our family is spread out from Punjab to Bengal and from the north to the south of India and in many cases out of India as well, sharing our cooking will enrich and enhance our skills to no end.

Amrita is very fond of baking and has a keen interest on desserts. I, on the other hand, am in the process to learn a lot of savoury dishes. Maybe that's why we have named this blog Sweet 'n' Savoury.

Look forward to sharing lots of yummy experience with each other.


Amrita and Vishal


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