|CHICKPEA TIFFIN LUNCH: SPICY FRIED SARDINES, EGGPLANT AND DHALL|
I am not a fan of tinned sardines in tomato sauce but I do love fresh sardines. They're inexpensive, full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but more important, this is sustainable fish.
And they taste nothing like the tinned fish in tomato sauce.
The fish guy at my local grocers pointed out the fresh sardines to me in his array of seafood recently (he also drew my attention to some lovely clams – more on that in a later post), and their bright eyes and silvery bodies made me look twice.
|Fresh sardines. Ooh, behave...|
I've seen a lot of recipes for baked sardines, but I've never cooked them that way. I like frying them because that crisps up their skin and I enjoy the taste and texture. My mother simply dredges them in a mixture of curry powder and salt, but I thought I would make just slightly more effort and coat them with a batter after butterflying them.
Ah, that's one more thing I like about sardines – they're easy to butterfly. The head is removed, the underside is slit from gills to tail and the backbone is easy to pull out.
I made the batter with chickpea flour, another good source of healthy minerals. Its yellow tinge adds an attractive finish and its nutty flavour is delicious. This flour is easy to get in Malaysia, but there are online sites with instructions on how to make it: Pulverise dried chickpeas in a food processor or blender until smooth, sift to remove larger particles and then repeat the pulverising. Finally, roast the flour in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. I would be cautious about this. Dried chickpeas are hard and unless the food processor is industrial grade, I would be afraid of ruining the machine.
To continue the chickpea theme in the meal, I made some eggplant chips: Cut long eggplant on the diagonal into 0.5cm slices; coat in seasoned chickpea flour, then in beaten egg and once more in chickpea flour; pan fry until golden and crisp on both sides.
Plus, Mumtaj from the office gave me some of her mum's dhall curry and I added some boiled chickpeas to it.
And there was a tiffin lunch, with chickpeas in three dishes.