The Top 10 International Seafood Dishes That You Should Cook

Now that you know the name origins of your fav varieties of seafood, it’s time to get your hands dirty and cook up these stunners of the culinary world—the international marine marvels that make the heart of every global gastronome beat harder. These should be on your list of foods-you–eat-to-make-life-worth-living (you have a list like this, right?). Because you may need to be lucky to find places around that serves fairly true-to-form versions, you should aim to take matters into your own hands and go out into the world your kitchen and conquer. Of course, to source great aquatic produce, you know where to look.
Here they are then, in no specific order. Roll up your sleeves, tie a napkin around your neck before the drooling begins, and tuck in.

1) Fish and Chips:

A British staple, this may be a fairly simple one to prepare, but, as any Brit will tell you, this “glory of English gastronomy” tastes different at each fish-and-chip shop that dot the expanse of the United Kingdom. Some places experiment with the beer element; ales, lagers, stouts etc. each produce a different result, although adding club soda works too. Typically served with malt vinegar, lemon or tartar sauce, this easy-to-adapt recipe has a different form in each of the countries it can be found in on the plates of diners happily noshing. But the traditional UK-style of doing it is, well, brill.

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2) Singapore Chilli Crab:

Crab on its own is such a delight to devour—sweet, delicate meat that takes on the zest of the accompanying cast in a dish. The Chili Crab from Singapore is spicy, sweet and even more of a delight, if such a thing is possible. No wonder then, it’s the national dish of the country, and is listed as one of the world’s 50 most delicious foods. Mantous or Chinese steamed buns are a general accompaniment.

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3) Thai Fish Cakes:

Fresh, gorgeous produce is the cornerstone of Thai cooking. Thai fish cakes reflect the best of nature’s plenitude that is generously bestowed on this beautiful country. Assorted fresh catch from the waters that surround the country unites with the herbs, spice, chilli, tang that is the hallmark of the cuisine. The result is one (tasty) successful, everlasting marriage.

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4) Balinese Grilled Fish:

While the fish in banana leaves tale may remind you of the various versions found in our nation’s regions, Ikan Pepesan Bali or Balinese Grilled Fish is a different story altogether. A furiously fragrant paste redolent with lemongrass and other aromatics, chilli, spices and tamarind or carambola for tartness is smeared over whole scored fish, which is then traditionally grilled over coconut coals. Of course, sitting on the beach watching the waves hit the shore would a perfect backdrop, but a barbeque night at home is pretty great too.

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5) Cioppino:

Regarded as an Italian-American collaboration, this stew that has shellfish of all kinds and other fish packed in a bright tomato and wine sauce. It may sound deceptively simple, but the full-blown yet subtle flavours return to haunt you when all you want is silky seafood comfort in a bowl. This pairs well with a hunk of crusty bread for a complete meal. A glass of wine only makes it better.

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6) Shrimp Étouffée:

Smothered or suffocated are not words you would want to associate with your seafood, but etouffée literally means that. What it really involves is browning ingredients like onions and peppers with a roux and braising them with Creole or Cajun seasoning to create this New Orleans hit. Some butter and tomatoes help to round out the flavours. Shrimp etouffée can be had by itself, or over white rice with some garlic bread. Although traditionally made with crayfish, the shrimp version is equally popular. And not because it sounds like ‘toffee’.

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7) Lobster Thermidor:

A French classic that was adored even by the celebrated Julia Child, this was named after a popular play the subject of which was the French Revolution. A traditional thermidor is not an easy recipe, and like most things French, involves incredible amounts of butter, cheese and cream, and eggs and cognac. Reserved for special occasions, this dish is a reminder of why the best things in life are so tasty, and so loaded. Feel free to reserve this one for the weekend, when the world can go by more slowly.

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8) Curry Crab Rundown:

Fresh crab, spices, coconut milk—there’s a recipe right there. Of course there’s more to this dish that comes from Jamaica, where they love their curry, which was introduced in the 17th century by Indian slaves who were brought in by the British. A little bit of thyme adds that Caribbean touch, while ginger and tomatoes add a burst of freshness. Some recipes do mix prawns along with the crab, which only adds to the fun. Serve with rotis or naans, or with that eternal soul mate of curry, rice.

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9) African Fish Balls Stew:

Beat it meatballs; there’s no place for you around with these lovely stewed fish balls. The stew (also called also called soupe de boulette de poisson) comprises of tomatoes simmered with vegetables like carrots and potatoes, while the fish balls are put together with fish, flavourings with the notable addition of peanut butter. This can be served with a side of bread, rice, couscous or yams.

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10) Japanese Braised Fish:

This dish, called Karei no Nitsuke in Japanese, can be made with halibut if flounder (karei) is not available. Nitsuke refers to the simmering technique which thickens the sauce made with soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and sometimes, ginger. The fish, by way of rapid simmering, is infused with the broth flavourings and is covered for a bit. The result is a glazed fillet with a golden sauce, which is traditionally served with rice.

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You’d probably want to add these to your cooking schedule for the week, so putting some of these together is a breeze on weekdays and nights. Nothing better than looking forward to a great meal to put it in perspective, eh? All hail the home cook.

About the Author
An incorrigible gastronome, Rupika V is on a perpetual quest to find the best food around, and will happily travel far to find it.

Image Credit: Cover
Image Credit: Fish & Chips
Image Credit: Chili Crab
Image Credit: Fish Cakes
Image Credit: Balinese Fish
Image Credit: Cioppino
Image Credit: Shrimp Étouffée
Image Credit: Lobster Thermidor
Image Credit: Curry Crab Rundown
Image Credit: African Fish Balls Stew
Image Credit: Japanese Braised Fish

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