Uppal’s interest in food and design began at the age of nine, when she learned to cook from her parents, connecting to food by sight and smell.
As an adult, she co-founded London catering company Lotus Events and ChilliHotChocolate.com, an online foodie emporium. She also teaches Indian cookery, from simple modern cuisine to full Indian feasts.
Her cookbook, Indian Made Easy, presents a fresh approach to cooking Indian food, combining traditional and contemporary flavours. Broken into eight chapters, the book contains simple recipes as well as menus for opulent feasts.
Busy cooks will enjoy Uppal’s quick, uncomplicated recipes, such as carrot and chickpea pancakes, lamb cutlets in spiced breadcrumbs, dhal makhani, mussels in chilli, ginger and curry leaf broth, and pistachio kulfi.
Here, she shares a favourite recipe for Baked Salmon with Crème Fraîche and Coconut, a simple dish that is worth making extra for because her left-overs ideas sound just as delicious.
Baked Salmon with Crème Fraîche and Coconut
A recipe kindly shared by an unconventional cook, Jeeva Jeyaseelan. This is a simple preparation that is packed full of flavour, but still delicate. The crème fraîche, lime juice and coconut all together form a delicious and light sauce, and will work well with any fish, either fillets or as whole fish for more people.
1 quantity Spiced Coconut and Crème Fraîche Marinade (see recipe below)
2 salmon fillets
¼ wedge of lime
2 large sheets (A4-size) baking paper
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Rub the marinade equally into the 2 pieces of salmon.
Place one salmon fillet on each baking paper square, then squeeze lime juice over each fish and finish off by sprinkling 2–3 teaspoons water over each fillet.
Bring up the sides of the paper and pinch together, then seal the edges tightly to form a loose parcel.
Place both salmon parcels on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 12–15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet.
NOTE: Open the parcels very carefully as the steam that will escape will be very hot.
Any leftovers can be made into mouth-watering fishcakes.
Spiced Coconut and Crème Fraîche for Fish, Chicken and Vegetables
This marinade is best smeared over salmon steaks, a whole chicken or baby eggplant sliced in half and roasted. Flake or slice any leftover salmon, chicken or eggplant, mix with good-quality mayonnaise or just a drizzle of oil, squeeze over a lime or lemon, then finish off with finely chopped spring onions and coriander. Season with coarse black pepper and sea salt. Now you have an excellent ‘next day’ sandwich filler.
1½ garlic cloves
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1½ tablespoons coconut milk powder
1½ tablespoons oil
Begin by pounding the garlic and salt together using a mortar and pestle. Next, add all the spices and coconut milk powder to the crushed garlic and salt paste and pound together gently.
Slowly drizzle in the oil, and stir in until the marinade comes together and makes a thick paste.
Finally, stir in the crème fraîche and use immediately. Alternatively, omit the crème fraîche and pour into a sterilised jar, seal with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. Use within 2 days. Stir in the crème fraîche when ready to use.
Serves 2 to 3
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