This is a meal I served last week, one of my rare “component meals.” For the protein, I served a spiced fish, for the veggie I served asparagus roasted with Indian spices, and to tie it all together I served an Indian pilaf. It was a big hit with everyone; John and I were both wary of the star anise (and indeed the original recipe does call for 3 whole star anise and 4 cloves, but I altered that because neither of us likes that licorice flavor), but we discovered that the spice rub really complemented the fish nicely. I realized afterward that Jean-Georges serves his fish with a tamarind ketchup; we liked the fish fine plain, but you could serve it with tamarind chutney if it seems to need something more.
For the spice rub (this made a little too much for us but we only made 3 fillets):
1 1/2 T coriander seeds
1 1/2 t cumin seeds
2 whole star anise
1 whole nutmeg, broken into big pieces
1 T crushed red chile pepper flakes, or to tolerance
6 whole cloves
Grind the spice rub ingredients in a coffee grinder until ground to medium-coarse.
For the fish:
4 6-oz mahi mahi fillets, or comparably thick white-fleshed fish fillets
the spice rub, see above
3 T vegetable oil
Find a large, oven-proof saute pan. I think being generous with oil and using a stainless steel pan actually works better with this recipe. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
I use frozen fish, so after defrosting it I like to rinse and pat it dry. Season the fish with salt and then generously sprinkle a lot of the spice rub onto one side of each fillet. Press it gently to help it adhere.
Heat the oil in your saute pan. When it is shimmering, place the fish, spiced side down, into the pan. Let it sear for 5 minutes, then transfer it to the oven and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Do not disturb the fillets. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the fillets from the pan–flip them over and serve seared, spiced side up.
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly and soaked for 30 minutes, then thoroughly drained
3 T ghee
1/3 cup raw cashew halves
1 t cumin seeds
1-2 t minced hot chile peppers, optional
1 T minced ginger
1 2/3 cup water
1-2 cups peas (to preference, frozen is fine)
1 t turmeric
1/2 t garam masala
1/2 cup raisins or currants
salt to taste
3 T mixed fresh herbs or 3 t dried herbs (I used dried thyme and oregano)
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Heat the ghee in a heavy, lidded, oven-proof casserole (without the lid on at this point, obviously). Add the cashews and fry, stirring constantly, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon and add the cumin seeds. let fry for 10-30 seconds, until darkening and fragrant, then add the ginger and chile pepper (if using). Fry, stirring, for one more minute. Add the rice and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the water, fresh peas (if using–will add frozen later), turmeric, garam masala, raisins, salt and herbs. Stir and bring to a boil. Immediately cover and place in the oven. If you used fresh peas, remove in 30 minutes; if you are using frozen peas, set the timer for 20 minutes, sprinkle the peas on top of the rice, and replace in the oven for another 10 minutes. Fluff, mixing the cashews back in, taste for salt, and serve.