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Student Suppers: Quick Curried Salmon with Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Welcome, ladies and gentleman to my first recipe of the year that is not bowl food. However, it does fall into the category owned entirely by one of my weeknight staple meals: some sort of baked fish, with some sort of brown or cauliflower rice, additional veggies like roasted squash and sautéed kale optional depending on how hungry I am and what I happen to have in the fridge at the time. Sometimes I like to bake cod with a freshly made salsa on top, make some sort of crust like this almond and lemon one for a piece of salmon, or flake the whole piece of fish into a kedgeree. Sometimes I just like things plain and steamed, and sometimes I like to go down the route that gives me the most amount of flavour for the least amount of effort: dousing the entire fish in some sort of pre-made sauce like a barbecue sauce or a couple of spoonfuls of pesto.
While I have certainly not given up, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that unless you’re talking about spiced potatoes, I’m not going to become an expert at home Indian cookery any time soon. Unlike other cuisines like Mexican and Korean, moving past a recipe onto creating my own dishes just does not seem instinctual to me when I’m faced with a load of spices and unknown techniques. Maybe it will come, and maybe it won’t, but for now I’m focused on finding some delicious, fresh, pre-made Indian rubs and sauces that only contain ingredients you’d find in my kitchen if I were the sort of person who does a whole load of Indian home cooking and without a whole load of added sugar, salt and fat.
So let me introduce you to Funky Elephant who are a lovely small independent, and their range of fresh Indian sauces, and their Methi (fenugreek) Sauce which is my new favourite curry sauce, a couple of spoonfuls of which I’ve used to add a delicious warmth and flavour to these salmon fillets. Salmon is my favourite fish for flavouring and baking, because not only is it easily available, but it holds up to strong flavours really well. The Methi Sauce has a really complex flavour and is so much better than anything I could have managed. I may or may not have even licked the spoon before putting the rest of the tub away to stir into some rice or chicken.
This whole thing will take only 20 minutes to throw together once your oven is hot, and the measurements below I’ve done for serves one. However, it is easily scaled up as you can see from my pictures. Use the same cooking times for the cauliflower if you add another portion, but if you more than double it add another minute on the microwave. I’d stick to coriander in the cauliflower tabbouleh, as I’ve tried using fresh mint before, and it was not pretty!
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (395 Fahrenheit).
Make the riced cauliflower by whizzing it in a food processor, and transfer it to a bowl covered with kitchen wrap. Make a few holes in this with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape, and get on with preparing the pomegranate seeds, coriander, and lightly toasting the flaked almonds in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Keep an eye on them, as they can easily catch, and remember to remove them from the pan as soon as they are done, because they can also burn in the residual heat.
Place the salmon skin side down on a baking try lined with a piece of baking parchment. Spoon over the sauce and rub it all over the salmon until it is all coated. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the fish is firm.
Meanwhile, microwave the cauliflower on high for 6 minutes, then stir in the pomegranate, coriander, almonds, a good glug of olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
Serve everything immediately on warm plates, possibly with some green veggies on the side.
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