Kaju Vatena ni Surmai

Kaju Vatena ni Surmai_Final1

Having lived in a big family now for two years I’ve picked up this unshakeable habit of always cooking more than what is really needed. Be it Dhandar or be it a curry masala, for some reason there will always be a little left that I must put away to be consumed on another day.

Annoying as it may be, this habit gives me the lovely opportunity of tinkering in the kitchen and coming up with new ways of using up the leftovers and giving them a makeover. The same thing happened when I recently cooked up Bawi Sasu’s Kaju Chicken. The masala used for this chicken is so yummy and simple to blend that I always like having a couple of spare boxes in the freezer for ’emergencies’. Yes, not having something delicious to eat IS an emergency – don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Kaju Vatena ni Surmai_Final

Such an emergency came up on the day before New Years Eve when I was left to my own devices while everyone was out at work. Naturally I drifted to the kitchen and aimlessly began to think of ways to use up the delicious Surmai that was calling my name from the freezer. As is always the case when you want to cook, nothing in the hundreds of recipe books I have sounded fun which is when I remembered the Kaju Masala.

I thought the dish may turn out quite ‘hotch-potch’ as BawiMummy terms it but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I enjoy it but the inevitable leftovers of the leftovers were also promptly devoured. So, without further ado here’s how you can make it at yours. Ingredients at the bottom of the post as always.

To start, you will need some of the Kaju Masala. If you don’t have it, ready then the ingredients for the same are mentioned below – simply grind it all with little water. In a pan, take some oil and fry this masala for about 5 – 6 minutes. In the interim, marinate the fish with some salt and set aside.

Fry the Kaju masala for the Kaju Vatena ni Surmai

Once the masala has absorbed the oil and heated through, add in all the ground and full spices and mix well. I suggest you add in the fish after you’ve mixes in the spices rather than alongside to ensure that the fillets don’t break while mixing the gravy.

Adding the ground spices to the Kaju gravy

Adding the whole spices to the Kaju gravy

Once the masala is well mixed, add in about 2 cups of water until the gravy is to a consistency of your liking. Remember that due to the cashews the gravy will thicken once it is cool so it is better to make it slightly more liquidy than not. After that’s done add in the green peas and give it a final mix.

Add green peas to the Kaju Vatena ni Surmai

Cover and let this cook for 15 – 20 minutes on a slow simmer until the fish and the green peas are cooked through. Quickly stir in the oregano and keep covered until you are ready to serve.

Cook the Kaju Surmai until ready

Serve hot with rotis.

Kaju Vatena ni Surmai ready to be served

To make enough for 4 you will need:

4 fillets surmai or your favourite firm fish
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chilli masala
1/2 tsp dhana-jeera masala
1/2 tsp shah-jeera
5 cloves
5 green cardamoms
4 star anise
150 gm peas
1/2 box Kaju Masala (quantities as per below)
Small sprinkle of dried oregano
Handful of cashews to garnish

For the Kaju Masala* you will need:
1.5 tbsp khas khas
100 gm cashews
4 green chillies
140 gm dessicated coconut
*blend all the ingredients with very little water to form a thick paste. Stays well frozen for upto 4 weeks.

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