The Fun (and Ease) of 5



Now that the festivities are over (only temporarily, of course) it’s time to get back to humdrum routine of the daily grind. You know what they say about taking a vacation to cope with the after-effects of a vacation? That is definitely needed after the stressful holiday season—stressful, since cleaning, shopping, cooking, entertaining, gifting, celebrating with your dearest ones is never the easiest job in the world.

What is, however, easy-peasy is cooking each of these 12 seafood recipes compiled for your gastronomical pleasure. When we say easy cooking, we also mean easy prepping, since each of these feature 5 ingredients or lesser, not counting basic salt and pepper, water, oil and butter—cooking essentials in every kitchen. You may think they’re all probably grilled, since how many dishes can you come up with that include 5 ingredients, one of them being seafood? We have stir-fries, baked fillets, kebabs, and even a curry. Easy to prep, nifty to put together, these are just what you need to kick back after the festive flurry has died down.

Of course, if you want to make it even more no-sweat, you can always look towards the Heat & Eat range from Fishvish. Featuring curries and pasta, fried fish and roast squid, these are made from recipes shared by expert home chefs that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Because you deserve a break too, and because everyday meals can also be small celebrations.


1. Five-Spice Tilapia



Tilapia is an amazing ingredient to work with; it lends itself mouldably well to dishes ranging from subtle to spicy, soup to samosa. Add to that the delicate yet robust one-two punch of fennel, and cinnamon, cloves, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, collectively known as Chinese five-spice mix; the conclusion is a sweet-salty, fragrant dish flecked with green onions that is great on its own with lemon wedges, or even better with rice. If you can’t find reduced sodium soy, use the light variant mixed with a little cooking sherry.

Recipe: Five-Spice Tilapia

2. Almond Crusted Salmon Recipe



The rich oiliness of salmon is further augmented by a nutty crust that includes lemon zest for brightness and parsley for its gentle herby flavour. Spinach stir-fried with garlic and olive oil makes for an appropriate accompaniment. Also consider serving a simple kale salad that has chopped garlic and olive oil ‘massaged’ in. The tangy, vegetal bitterness of the salad offsets the salmon and almond crust well, and does away with the need for any cheese or dairy.

Find great salmon fillets for this delish recipe here

Recipe: Almond Crusted Salmon Recipe

3. 5 Ingredient Tuscan Baked Fish



Diced tomatoes with oregano and basil may not be easy to come by in our part of the world. But the temperate weather assures all-year access to fresh tomatoes and herbs in most regions. For another twist, consider replacing some of the love apples with their cherry-sized and shaped cousins. Leave the capers in as is, they go compellingly well with tomatoes. Also, you would be totally forgiven if you swap in a couple of chopped garlic cloves with the onion; in fact, you may be hailed as a culinary genius. Of course, there are more chances of that happening if you serve your Tuscan baked fish topped with bits of soft robiola. Serve with a simple salad and garlic bread.

Recipe: 5 Ingredient Tuscan Baked Fish

4. Shrimp with Mango & Basil



So autumn may not be fresh mango season, but do not let that stop you from planning a light lunch or dinner around this easily done and healthy dish; it’s done in 15 mins (excluding marination time), and is only 158 calories per serving. Consider using chopped fresh pineapple that is easily available all year-round. Cook the shrimp briefly as instructed and tip into a bowl; in the same pan, sauté the pineapple until a little soft. Add the half-done shrimp, seasoning, onion greens and basil, toss quickly and serve as an appetizer or a side.

Recipe: Shrimp with Mango & Basil

5. Lemon Red Snapper with Herbed Butter



The herbed butter, with notes of lemon peel, melts on top of the red snapper fillets, echoing the citrus whoop of the lemon slices the fish bakes on. Some may be tempted to add a little minced garlic to either the butter or the seasoning for the fish, but restraint will make you appreciate the light subtlety of the dish at the dining table. Serve with sautéed parsley potatoes for a filling meal, with a glass of a zesty Chenin Blanc.

Recipe: Lemon Red Snapper with Herbed Butter

6. Crab Cakes



A typical crab cake recipe will ask for everything from scallions to garlic powder. These, however, come together in a jiffy, and since you have mayo, Dijon and lemon included, you can do away with the other seasoning bit too; add a little freshly ground pepper if you have to. The mayonnaise and mustard, in fact, make a great dip for these savoury cakes. A little lemon won’t hurt either. Toss together a green salad with mustard dressing to serve alongside.

Wondering where to score crab meat? We have you covered

Recipe: Crab Cakes


7. Rava Fish Fry



Now Indian cooking demands a long list of ingredients, dried and fresh, and hours of slow cooking, or that’s what we’ve come to believe. This recipe belies all such notions and calls for essential staples like ginger garlic, lemon, chilli and turmeric to be smeared on fish steaks. After a quick marinating time of 15 minutes, the steaks are coated in semolina and pan fried until crisp. The curry leaves to be added to the frying oil may be optional, but add great flavour. Opt for surmai or river fish like rohu, or even prawns if you like them the best. Either way, this is as delicious as it gets, with bare necessities.

Best served with a tangy kachumber.

Recipe: Rava Fish Fry


8. Fish Kebabs



Calling these just ‘fish kebabs’ doesn’t really do them justice. These entail a total of 5 ingredients, including salt and pepper and olive oil, and feature lemon peel threaded between fish cubes on skewers. The lemon oil from the peel flavours the fish beautifully during grilling, and the garnish of chervil or parsley heightens the fresh lightness of the dish.

For a recipe like this that counts on the freshness of ingredients to make it shine, you absolutely must use great quality ingredients, including fish. Find some here.

Recipe: Fish Kebabs


9. 5-ingredient Slow Cooker Coconut Cilantro Curry Shrimp



A slow cooker recipe for shrimp is not something you come across every day. However, it’s the sauce that’s simmered on High for 2 hours, with the shrimp thrown in during the final 15-30 minutes of cooking. While the now easily-recognizable Thai curry ingredients of curry paste, coconut milk, fresh coriander (cilantro) are all in there, the lemon-garlic seasoning makes it the different dish it is. Either way, these shrimp are made to be served atop rice or quinoa or any other cooked grain of your choice. If you don’t have prawns with shells on, the shelled variety will work just fine. Just be careful about cooking them right; prawns are easily done, and can go from perfectly cooked to rubbery in less than a minute.

Recipe: 5-ingredient Slow Cooker Coconut Cilantro Curry Shrimp


10. Halibut with Quick Lemon Pesto



Halibut is another firm fish that pairs well in a wide variety of ingredients. Here, however, it takes on the simple and tart flavours of a lemon basil pesto which is surprisingly nut-free, and couples bright lemon zest and juice with pungent garlic. The fish itself is kept simple, grilling it with a simple salt and pepper rub. No fancy antics, and yet here’s a pleasingly flavourful dinner. Bring on the long days, there are treats to look forward to later.

The grilled zucchini, corn and pepper stir-fry in the image look appealing and appropriate to serve on the side.

Recipe: Halibut with Quick Lemon Pesto


11. Sautéed Tilapia Tacos with Grilled Peppers and Onion



Tacos are a saviour on rushed days, just like wraps are; combine your favourite protein with veggies, place in taco shells or soft tortillas, squeeze some lime wedges and eat. The beauty of these tilapia tacos is the unusual cooking techniques incorporated—the fish fillets are sautéed, and the veggies are grilled, instead of the expected other way round. The twist results in soft fish chunks wrapped with charred, smoky onions and peppers. To ratchet up the smoky heat, consider grilling the jalapeño too, then slice and add. Also, creamy avocado slices add texture and smoothness. Corn tortillas can be replaced by wheat, or even taco shells if desired.

Recipe: Sautéed Tilapia Tacos with Grilled Peppers and Onion


12. Garam Masala Seared Fish



Okay, so the original recipe is one for garam masala haddock, but the spice rub that this uses is so versatile, it can be used on everything from basa to tuna. More like a Western take on an Indian spiced fish, this is different from regular fried fish in that it is not coated with any semolina or panko or flours, but relies on the spice rub to create a slight crust around the fillet, sealing in flavour and moisture, thanks to the quick sear in a hot pan. Try using the suggested ghee instead of olive oil for a richer, smokier flavour.

Recipe: Garam Masala Seared Fish


Winter is coming, it’s time to ease up and simplify. Start with 5 ingredients and amazing, delish seafood.


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.

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