Two moms. Five daughters. Opposite ends of the globe.

Two moms. Five daughters. A friendship that spans opposite ends of the globe.

We have been best friends for ages with a shared love for good food. A desire of good health for ourselves and our families have lead us to exploring the paleo lifestyle together. Enjoy our adventure!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sweet and Sour Salmon Masala

Indian cuisine is an absolute favorite in our home. Although I've found the perfect substitute for rice in roasted cauliflower, my spouse and girls resist that alternative and opt for sans something to soak up the sauce. This is a family favorite that was already paleo-friendly and didn't require any adaptation. The sweetness comes from pineapple and the sour comes primarily from tamarind. The rich, spicy and fruity flavors found in this dish are common in South Indian cuisine.

  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (or 1-2 T fresh ginger, grated)
  • 2 tsp turmeric (or curry powder if you aren't a fan of turmeric)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can tomatoes with chiles)
  • 1/2-2 chile peppers, chopped (depending on desired hotness)
  • 2 T tamarind paste + 1/2 cup water (or juice from 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped (or canned if you live in AK and don't want to pay $12 for a pineapple in January)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh salmon (or halibut), cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

  1. Mix coconut oil with cumin seeds and cardamom. Cook over medium-high heat 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add onion and garlic and fry until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground spices and tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add tamarind plus water or the lemon juice and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced in half.
  5. Add the pineapple and remaining cup of water and simmer until the sauce has reduced in half again. The sauce should be thick and rich, like a chutney, at this point.
  6. Reduce the heat and add fish and shrimp (if using). Cook until fish is cooked through.
  7. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice (if using). I have found that it's sometimes sour enough without the  lime juice.
  8. Serve immediately over cut raw vegetables or cauliflower rice.

Opportunities for substitution abound in this recipe. I often make this dish with a smooth and creamy texture by pureeing the onions and tomatoes together before step 3 and pureeing the pineapple and the cup of water before step 5. This creates a sauce that is more like gravy than chutney (and also ensures I won't hear complaining about cooked onions!).