Ben Laurie blathering

Sea Bass and Dal

The sea bass part of this is really easy: fry sea bass fillets in extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt for about 5 minutes skin side down, which makes it lovely and crispy, then turn over for about 30 seconds to cook it through. Obviously you do this at the end.

Dal is a more moveable feast – I used a mix of toor dal (oily, as it happens, but plain would be fine), white urad dal and red lentils – these all cook relatively quickly and end up quite soft. Fry onions in ghee, add ground cumin, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, dried red chili, star anise (I know this is non standard, but it is great in dal) and whole mustard seeds. You can play with this mix infinitely, but that’s what I used tonight. Fry the washed dal briefly in the onion/spice mix and then add water. Boil hard for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally, adding water as needed (a quite wet outcome is perfectly ok) until the dal is soft but still retains a little identity. Towards the end add chicken stock and salt.

I also did cardamom rice (take whole cardamom, beat up somewhat in a pestle and mortar and chuck into the rice/water mix at the beginning – cook the rice however you cook rice). The whole combo was lovely – crispy sea bass contrasted nicely with the soft, spicy dal, and the rice gave that slight citric edge.

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