Broth-erly Love

The last couple of weeks have been all about the wet chill in the air, made better by shades of lush green around—gorgeous verdant foliage dripping with tiny beads of sparkling moist shine. As much as the palate craves hot oil-produced crunch and crispness (succumbing, we dedicated a whole day to frying fish, true comfort lies in a hot mug, or a steaming tureen, or a scalding bowl. Whatever your choice of serving container, soups and stews will warm and soothe the coldest heart and smoothen the roughest edges of a long, soaked day; and when the sniffles come a-calling, these warm broths can be counted on to comfort, and sometimes even alleviate symptoms of the most merciless cold.
Seafood soups and stews are godsent for the cold and the season—light enough to be kind to your tummy yet hearty enough to satiate the appetite. And while there’s enough listed inspiration for fish stews and soups on the Internet, what better way to get cracking than to ‘borrow’ a tried and tested recipe from people in the know and in the business? If you’ve never stewed and souped fish and other seafood before, now is the time to lose your inhibitions and give in to the pleasure. 

Seafood Chowder
Seafood chowder is a delish bowl of seafood & veggie heartiness, packing in ingredients that are great for you.
This recipe is from Hemant Thite, the affable founder of Stew Art, a restaurant in Pune unusually dedicated to serving fine stews and other soupy concoctions. A basic chowder recipe, Thite says this is also on the restaurant menu sometimes, served under the daily specials. A filling dish, this one has corn, potatoes and other veggies to match the plenteous seafood.
Recipe: Seafood Chowder
Serves 4
Use a mix of seafood, like basa and squid rings. Thick chunks of fish are best for stewing. (You can consider using emperor or swordfish or barracuda steaks) 

  1. 1 tablespoon butter 
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  4. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  5. 1 litre stock (chicken or vegetable is fine)
  6. 1 tablespoon dried thyme 
  7. 2 medium-sized potatoes, diced
  8. 1 carrot, diced
  9. 100 gm sweet corn kernels
  10. 1 pepper, green or red, diced
  11. 100ml light cream
  12. Salt and pepper
  13. Sprigs of coriander or parsley for garnish
Heat oil in a pan and sauté onion and garlic.
Add in stock, fish, veggies, herbs and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce flame and cook for 15- 20 min or till veggies are tender. Add squid and cream, stir and remove from heat. 
Serve in bowls and garnish with Coriander or Parsley. 
Eat with garlic buttered bread or rice.
The moqueca may sound Asian with the coconut milk, aromatics and herbs, but the paprika and chilli flakes pack a tropical punch.
Sajjani Nair, who also went by the covert moniker ‘The Secret Chef’ before revealing herself, is known to be the harbinger of delectable homecooked meals. The popular homechef shares this recipe for prawn Moqueca, a Brazilian fish stew made with coconut milk (especially in the state of Bahia), tomatoes etc. Almost Asian in resemblance, the Brazilian touch is evident in the traditional use of palm oil, red chilli flakes and paprika. 
Recipe: Prawn Moqueca
Serves 4
(Adapted from BBC GoodFood)

  1. 500 gm large, raw, peeled prawns
  2. 2 limes, juiced
  3. 3 garlic cloves minced
  4. 4 spring onions, chopped
  5. 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  6. 1 onion sliced lengthways
  7. 1 red bellpepper, julienned
  8. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  9. 2 tsp paprika
  10. 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  11. 400ml coconut milk
  12. 2 tablespoons coriander
  13. Steamed rice, to serve
Place the prawns in a bowl with 2 tbsp of lime juice and 1 tbsp of the chopped garlic. Refrigerate for an hour.
Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan and add the spring onion and onion; fry for a couple of minutes, then add red pepper, chilli flakes, paprika and remaining garlic.
Pour in the tomatoes, coconut milk and a little salt. Simmer and let reduce for 10mins. Add prawns, all the marinade and remaining lime juice. Simmer for about 3 minutes until prawns go opaque. Serve with steamed rice garnished with coriander.

Asian Noodle Broth with Fish
This Jamie Oliver recipe is light, delicious and healthy; which makes it perfect for wet weather.
Jamie Oliver is a great champion of fresh produce and healthy eating, and this recipe shared on his website, is all about that. It calls for fresh egg noodles, but you could use heartier dried soba. The sesame oil is essential—look for a toasted seed version in the Asian section of your supermarket or on specialty stores online. If you can’t find mangetout or snap/snow peas, leave them out. The sole can be replaced by tilapia fillets. A one-pot meal, this makes for a great light lunch or dinner.
Recipe: Asian Noodle Broth with Fish
Serves 4

  1. 250g fresh egg noodles
  2. Sea salt
  3. Freshly ground black pepper
  4. Sesame oil
  5. Vegetable oil
  6. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  7. 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  8. 100g mangetout
  9. 220g can of water chestnuts, drained and halved
  10. 2 fresh red chillies, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  11. 1 litre organic fish or chicken stock, hot
  12. 500g sole fillets, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, skinned and cut into chunks
  13. 2 limes, juice of
  14. low-salt soy sauce
  15. 1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the noodles following the instructions on the pack.
  • Drain the noodles in a colander, toss in a little sesame oil and divide the noodles between four serving bowls.
  • Heat a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat and add a splash of vegetable oil. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger, mangetout, water chestnuts and half the chillies for 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add the hot stock and bring to the boil.
  • Drop in the sole pieces, cook for a minute and turn off the heat. Taste the broth and season generously with soy sauce and black pepper.
  • Spoon over the noodles, dividing the fish, broth and veg evenly between the bowls. Drizzle over the lime. Serve with more soy sauce, and the coriander and chilli scattered over.

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: Seafood Chowder
Image Credit: Moqueca
Image Credit: Asian Noodle Broth with Fish

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