SPICY FISH AND GREEN BEANS


The tropical and healing flavors of Indian cuisine deliver a filling meal easy enough to make after a long day. Crispy pan-fried white fish marinated in ginger and turmeric can ease digestive problems and reduce chronic inflammation. The coconut milk sauteed green beans provide crunch and healthy fat. These exotic ingredients can be found in most grocery stores.
This authentic Indian recipe is one that you will not find in any Indian restaurant. It was taught to me by my dear friend, Archna, from New Delhi. I love learning new recipes, especially when they are taught to me by a teacher from an international school. Archna and her husband Raphael cooked this amazing dish for us when they were visiting this past summer. I adapted the spices that she used to the ones that are available at Trader Joe’s. Archna also taught us that the average Indian woman spends about three hours in the kitchen per day. India does not have the wide-spread prepared packaged foods, nor fast food restaurants that we do in the US. Nearly all the meals they eat are prepared fresh and at home everyday.

Allergens and substitutions: To avoid dairy replace the butter with olive oil.

 

HEALING BENEFITS

Cod is a cold, deep water living fish which means it produces substantial amounts of good fat. Besides being a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids this white fish is also high in vitamin A, D and E. The meat of this fish has a lighter fish flavor that makes it ideal for those who tend to dislike eating fish. Baked or broiled in butter and spices makes for a healthy indulgence.

 

Coconut milk is made from the inner “meat” of the tropical coconut. It is actually a fruit, not a nut like the name implies. The “conventional nutrition” wisdom that claims that coconut milk is unhealthy because it has fat is false. In fact, the coconut has healing properties because of its healthy fat content. Coconut milk and coconut oil are both high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which can lower the risk of heart disease. Studies show that Alzheimer’s patients benefit from the MCT fats. And Alzheimer’s has a strong link to diabetes with some doctors even calling it “Type 3” diabetes.

 

Ginger is another powerful anti-inflammatory root. It is widely used to treat upset stomachs and indigestion. This familiar flavor is not just limited to ginger ale and provides the most healing benefits in its fresh root form. Most spice sections in grocery stores at least carry the dried powder version. Ginger can increase insulin release in diabetics – which is a good thing.

 

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Asia for its healing properties. It is chock full of antioxidants, is an anti-inflammatory and a mild pain reliever. Turmeric powder is made from the root of the plant. Using the fresh root is the most powerful form, but also look for turmeric powder in the spice aisle.

In a seemingly self-conflicting act, the American Diabetic Association’s (ADA) Diabetes Journal conducted a study on curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. They concluded that curcumin intervention is safe and effective for use in reversing prediabetes. This study noticed an improvement in overall β-cell functions. These independently done studies by trained professionals at universities make it difficult to completely write off turmeric as a gimmick.

 

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER

Follow the instructions below to make this savory fish dinner. Look for frozen cod or other white fish at Trader Joe’s. If you can find a local, fresh filet it will cook and taste better than the frozen. Seafood Watch is the searchable database of sustainable fish and shellfish compiled by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can search by fish type or by one of their state by state guides. They also have convenient and free smart phone apps to use in the grocery store. Making wise seafood choices has never been easier. Catfish or rockfish are acceptable substitutes for the cod used in this recipe.

Time Savers: This recipe might look like a lot of prep work but some healthy shortcuts can be taken. Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores sell green beans that have already been cut and cleaned. Simply open the package and use, no chopping necessary. Likewise, the fresh garlic can be substituted for garlic powder or garlic paste in a jar.

It’s good practice to pull out all the pots and pans you need before cooking. Likewise, pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

SPICY FISH AND GREEN BEANS ingredients

Microwave your two limes for 20-30 seconds. (Don’t forget to remove the produce stickers!) Let rest until the exteriors are cool to the touch. A warm citrus fruit always produces more juice than a cold one. Mix the salt, pepper, red chili flakes, ginger and curry powder together in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Then mince the garlic with a knife or with a garlic press into the dry spices. Cut your warm limes in halves and juice into the spices. Add 1 tbsp of fresh, filtered water also. Mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk.

Use a spoon or silicone basting brush to spread the marinade on the defrosted fish. Flip the fish and cover evenly on both sides. The bright yellowish-orange color from the spices is from the turmeric in the curry powder blend. Place the fish in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or up to a day to soak in the flavors. If I am in a hurry I will pan fry all my fish at the same time. When I am less pressed for time, I store the fish in the refrigerator until I am ready to eat it, then fry it fresh.

 

While the fish marinades, the simple green beans can be cooked. Bring a tall skillet or large stock pot to medium heat on the stove-top. Melt half the butter, ghee or coconut oil in the skillet. Add just the green beans and allow to sear for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add the entire can of coconut milk and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Sample a few green beans to ensure they are crisp but not over-cooked. Remove from the heat and divide evenly into containers for lunches or dinners.

Side Note: Fresh or frozen green beans do the best for this recipe. Green beans from a can are limp and soggy from the start. Canned green beans also lack the same flavors and nutrients compared to their fresh counterparts. Avoid canned green beans, even if it’s cheaper.

 

Bring a large non-stick skillet up to medium-high heat. Allow the pan a few minutes to get completely hot. Melt 1/4 of the butter in the pan then place half the fish in it. Allow the fish to cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes before checking it. Once it has developed a golden brown sear, gently flip it to brown the other side. After another 1 minute, check the fish by pushing on it with a finger. If it flakes apart, it is done. If not, continue cooking. Cooking times vary depending on the size of the fish and the heat from the stove. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the remaining butter and cook the rest of the fish, if not saving for later.

The key to getting a good crispy sear on a delicate piece of fish is a good non-stick skillet. Unfortunately these are few and far between. We recommend the amazing Dutch ScanPans. There’s no teflon in the coating and you can fry an egg without a single drop of oil. Most other non-stick skillets will keep the good, crispy parts of the fish stuck to the pan. Notice the very little bit of butter melted in the pan in the picture below. If you find yourself pan frying fish often, invest in a thin fish skillet. The sharp edge is best for working fish loose from a pan.

Calorie Reduction: If you’re looking to lighten this recipe a bit more, consider baking the fish instead of frying it. Ditch the butter and bake on a cookie sheet or oven-proof dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°F.

SPICY FISH AND GREEN BEANSServing Size: To part this recipe out, simply divide the components in 1/4’s or 1/3’s. The 1/4 portion is for the 1,500 calorie plan and the 1/3 portion is for the 2,000 calorie plan. This recipe travels well for lunches or dinner. Microwave in a glass or ceramic container without any plastic nor plastic wrap.

 

SPICY FISH AND GREEN BEANS
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The tropical and healing flavors of Indian cuisine deliver a filling meal easy enough to make after a long day. Crispy pan-fried white fish marinated in ginger and turmeric can ease digestive problems and reduce chronic inflammation. The coconut milk sauteed green beans provide crunch and healthy fat. These exotic ingredients can be found in most grocery stores.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Green Beans, Fresh, 15 oz (~ 1lb)
  • Coconut Milk, In a Can, 1.75 cups
  • Butter, Ghee or Coconut Oil, 6 tbsp
  • Garlic Cloves, 4X OR Paste OR Powder
  • Ginger Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Red Chili Flakes, ½ tsp
  • Curry Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Limes, Juice of, 2X
  • Sea Salt, ½ tsp
  • Black Pepper, ½ tsp
  • Cod, Catfish or Rockfish 1.5lb
Instructions
  1. Microwave your two limes for 20-30 seconds. Mix the salt, pepper, red chili flakes, ginger and curry powder together in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Then mince the garlic with a knife or with a garlic press into the dry spices. Cut your warm limes in halves and juice into the spices. Add 1 tbsp of fresh, filtered water also. Mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk.
  2. Use a spoon or silicone basting brush to spread the marinade on the defrosted fish. Flip the fish and cover evenly on both sides. Place the fish in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or up to a day to soak in the flavors.
  3. Bring a tall skillet or large stock pot to medium heat on the stove-top. Melt half the butter, ghee or coconut oil in the skillet. Add just the green beans and allow to sear for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Then add the entire can of coconut milk and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and divide evenly into containers for lunches or dinners.
  5. Bring a large non-stick skillet up to medium-high heat. Allow the pan a few minutes to get completely hot. Melt ¼ of the butter in the pan then place half the fish in it. Allow the fish to cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes before checking it. Once it has developed a golden brown sear, gently flip it to brown the other side. After another 1 minute, check the fish by pushing on it with a finger. If it flakes apart, it is done. If not, continue cooking. Cooking times vary depending on the size of the fish and the heat from the stove. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the remaining butter and cook the rest of the fish, if not saving for later.

 

Photo by *saipal and John Revo Puno and Fotolia.[/two_third]

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