22 July 2011

Mangoes, Salmon, and Madhur ...

                                                                                                                         Photo credit: Clara Molden

Madhur Jaffrey has made a name for herself as a distinguished actress and as an enthusiastic advocate for Indian cuisine. Her favorite dishes use simple ingredients, but have interesting spice combinations that add tang, heat, zest, and color! Her interview on NPR back in 2006 was such a delight that I'm including a link here. Just listen to this delightful lady tell of her early life in colonial India and her wonderful memories of growing up and into the spiciness of her beloved Indian cuisine! Her memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India is on my bedside table and is enthralling. In her 80's, Ms. Jaffrey has lived the change from colonial India to independent India and has negotiated the paths between traditional Indian culture and Western culture. She has become an established film actress and has lived in New York for many years, but her love of her Indian roots is evident in her discussion of her favorite recipes. She is number seven on our list of 50 Women Game-Changers and well deserves the spot ... join the other bloggers that are paying her tribute this week by linking to Mary's post at One Perfect Bite ... then choose a recipe and make your own Indian feast! I chose to work with fresh salmon that is given a lovely spice rub and is then finished in a hot spicy smooth tomato curry.

I am making her Salmon with Mustard Seed and Coriander for this evening's dinner. We will have a big bowl of steamed rice and bowls of Saag Palak too. After dinner, we will sit and sip iced tea or a chilled white wine.  I will bring us chilled mangoes for a juicy cool dessert. Wonderful, yes?

It's very warm here in New England this week, so this dish will allow me to have a warm dinner, but make it ahead - in the cool of the morning. Then, I will only stand in front of the stove for 10 to 15 minutes to put the final dish together and ready the rice for steaming. Simple and convenient ... and so spicy.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Salmon with Mustard Seed and Coriander

Salmon and Rub Ingredients:

2 lb. skinless salmon fillet, cut into matchbook-sized pieces
⅓ tsp. cayenne pepper
⅓ tsp. ground turmeric
⅓ tsp. kosher salt

Aromatics and Sauce Ingredients:

3 tsp. brown mustard seeds
1 ½ tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
6 oz. peeled tomatoes, coarsely grated
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. fennel seeds
15 – 20 fresh curry leaves OR 6 bay leaves

Making the Dish:
1. Blend the cayenne pepper, turmeric, and salt in a small dish and sprinkle over the prepared salmon, rolling the salmon pieces to coat them with the rub.

2. Place the salmon in a zip-lock plastic bag and refrigerate for at least a few hours or all day.

3. In a clean coffee grinder, place 2 ½ tsp. of the mustard seeds and grind to a powder.

4. Put the ground mustard seeds in a bowl and add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, cayenne pepper, tomatoes, and ½ c. water. Mix well and set aside.

5. Place the olive oil in a sauce pan and heat it. Add the remaining ½ tsp. mustard seed and stir until they ‘pop’. Add the fennel seeds and continue cooking briefly. Then pour in the tomato sauce and add another
1 c. measure of water and the bay leaves or curry leaves.

6. Simmer the sauce for ten minutes and then, turn off the heat. If you are making the dish later in the day, refrigerate the sauce. If you are making the dish within the next hour or so, pour the sauce into a large shallow frypan – one that will hold the salmon in ONE layer to simmer.

7. When you are ready to prepare the final dish, warm the sauce over medium heat.

8. Place the salmon pieces in one layer and cook at a slow bubbling simmer for 4 minutes.

9. Gently turn the salmon pieces and finish cooking for another 4 – 5 minutes.

10. Place the salmon on a platter, drizzle the sauce over top, garnish with more curry leaves or some chopped cilantro and serve with steamed rice or Naan bread.


  1. I love spicy - this spicy salmon sounds lovely. Great idea to prepare ahead of time, I should do that more often. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a marvelous choice, Susan. This sounds wonderful and I know I'd love to try it. I'm so glad you are on this journey with us. You are a great traveling companion. I hope you have a marvelous day. Blessings...Mary

  3. We are suffering here in New England, aren't we? I did the same thing with my dish, made it ahead and just reheated at dinnertime. I really like the idea of Indian spices with fish. We eat so much fish, and I'm happy to have discovered some new tricks for making it. This looks delicious.

  4. I think Madhur Jaffrey is fantastic! Your salmon dish looks so good, a great alternative use for it!

  5. What a beautiful salmon dish to make in honor of Madhur Jaffrey. I am going to pick up a copy of her memoir to read this summer.

  6. I love the idea of creating a whole meal by each of these women. I've just been making a dish, but turning it into a feast sounds like fun!

  7. What a great way with salmon! I'll be trying this soon!

  8. I probably contemplated making this recipe about ten times...ha! It sounds so good to me, but I just wasn't able to get any salmon this week (which makes me very glad that you made it...so at least I can live vicariously). Sounds delicious!! Enjoy the rest of the memoir...I just loved it =)

  9. I love Madhur Jaffery she's a star! Totally responsible for bringing Indian food to the masses, which has to be a good thing!

  10. I loved her Memoir. This salmon dish looks delicious. My parents are from east India and my mother is a wonderful Indian cook. I've been perusing all the recipes that you ladies made and they all sound wonderful! You have a wonderful blog, I can't wait to read more! I'm you latest follower. If you have a moment I would love it if you stopped by my family's site. Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. I just arrived back from holidasy with no Internet access but just had to check in to see all the delicious dishes from the group!!! Salmon...loving it!


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