Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brazilian Cod Fish Balls with Emerald Rice



Brazilian Cod Fish Balls with Emerald Rice. Sounds exotic, doesn't it???

What comes to your mind when you hear Brazil - Emerald hued water; sandy beaches; the towering statue of Jesus Christ; bikini clad babes; hunks with their surfboards or Ronaldo??? Next time you hear Brazil, you'll think of Brazilian Cod Fish Balls with Emerald Rice... That's a promise!

Okay!! That was some exaggeration but really these fish balls or fish cakes, as Sid calls them, are really drool-worthy. I am a Food Network and Cooking Channel addict and I came across this recipe in Ingrid Hoffman's Simply Delicioso.

As I told you earlier, having omega 3 rich fish at least 3 times a week reduces the chances of kidney disorder in Diabetics. Salmon and Cod are best for you, followed by MacarelSardines, Herrings and Tuna. Though we Bengalis LOVE our fish and eat them practically every day, we generally prefer fresh water (river/pond/lakes bred) fish, which has a lower level of omega3 than is sea counterpart. So my weekly grocery list usually compromise of fresh water fish like Tilapia, Catfish, Bass, Tout and one variety of sea fish like Salmon, Cod and Tuna.

Since I am personally not too fond of sea fish, I am constantly in lookout for innovative recipes to actually enjoy these fishes and not just thrust them down my esophagus. And these Cod fish Balls are just that. Cod fish are very delicate and flaky, but have a distinct smell to them, which I am not too fond of. I have tweaked the Original Recipe a little to suit my palate, but its still very Brazilian none the less.

The original recipe uses a pound and a half of potatoes to a pound of fish. I found the fish balls are too soft and do not hold the shape properly even after baking/frying. I found using  a pound of fish and just 2 medium sized potatoes, gives the right amount of softness and texture. Secondly, the original recipe uses clam juice to poach the fish, to give added flavor to the usually bland cod fish. Since I am allergic to shell food, I poach it plain water, with onions, garlic, bay leaf and few peppercorns.


I use 1 pound of fresh, skinned cod fillet which I cut into big chunks for easy poaching. In a medium saucepan, combine water, onions, garlic pods, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add the fish and poach it for 3-4 minute till its cooked through and flakes easily. Drain and let it cool.


In a large bowl add the boiled potatoes, poached cod fish, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper, hot sauce and egg. Mix it well.


The mixture will be very wet, sticky and gloppy and you would think that you can never make balls out of it. That it the reason, the mixture needs to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight to firm up. Do wrap it with a cling wrap or else the entire fridge will have a fishy stench.


Preheat the oven at 400F. In a plate pour a cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs. Take the chilled potato-fish mixture out from the fridge and using a ice cream scoop roll out 2 inch balls. Roll each ball in the bread crumbs to coat completely and arrange on a greased aluminium foil lined baking stray.


Before putting it in the oven, spray the fish balls lightly with nonstick cooking spray. This will help to have a crisp golden color. Bake for 30 minutes in an 400F oven. You can even shallow or deep fry the fish balls. This mix is supposed to yield eight 2 inch sized balls. But I don't know how, I managed nine!!



Recipe Snapshot:


What I used:
Cod Fillets - 1 lb cut into big chunks
Potatoes - 2 medium sized or 1 large boiled till tender and mashed
Green Onions/ Scallions - 4 finely chopped, both white and the green portions
Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp finely chopped
Hot Sauce  - 2 tsp
Egg - 1
Seasoned Italian Bread Crumbs - 1 cup
Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper

Poaching Liquid
Water - 4 cups
Onions - 1 medium sized cut into chunks
Garlic - 4 cloves slightly bruised
Bay leaf - 1
Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Salt

What I did:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, onions, garlic pods, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add the fish and poach it for 3-4 minute till its cooked through and flakes easily. Drain and let it cool.


2. In a large bowl add the boiled potatoes, poached cod fish, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper, hot sauce and egg. Mix it well.

3. The mixture needs to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight to firm up. Do wrap it with a cling wrap or else the entire fridge will have a fishy stench.

4. Preheat the oven at 400F.

5. Using an icecream scoop, roll out 2 inch balls from the chilled potato-fish mixture.

6. Roll each ball in the bread crumbs to coat completely and arrange on a greased aluminium foil lined baking stray.

7. Spray the fish balls lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

8. Bake for 30 minutes in an 400F oven. You can even shallow fry or deep fry the fish balls.


Tip: You can make this fish balls with Basa/ Swai or even Tilapia.

Emerald Rice.... sounds elegant but its a breeze to make. Its uses cooked rice and hence its a great way to use the leftover rice. I have made this emerald rice using White Basmati, Brown Basmati and Jasmine Rice and every time it turned out simply delicious or shall we say Simply Delicioso. Its her recipe after all!!

The emerald in question here are boiled/ steamed broccoli and peas. Ingrid chose only cilantro and parsley to be her "Emerald" but I add the veggies to make it more nutritious.


Everything is precooked. All you need to do is toss everything together and broil it for 4-5 minutes. If using cold leftover rice, warm it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. In a big bowl toss the rice with butter and salt and pepper. Then add the boiled peas, broccoli, lime zest, cilantro and parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese. Toss everything together until well combined. Set the oven on broiler. Pour everything in a oven-proof dish and broil for 4-5 minutes till the cheese is well browned. Whenever using the broiler mode, do babysit your dish, because it goes from brown to black in no time.


The lime zest adds a beautiful limey flavor to the rice without being overpowering. The browned Parmesan is so nutty and delicious. Try to use a cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino, which browns nicely but are not melting and gooey. In case want a rice casserole like texture, feel free to use any melting cheese like American Singles, Chedder, Fontina or even Gruyere.


Recipe Snapshot:


What I used:
Freshly Cooked or leftover Rice - 4 cups 
Butter - 1 tbsp melted
Peas - ½ cup, boiled in salted water and drained
Broccoli - ½ cup, boiled in salted water and drained
Cilantro/ Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp
Parsley leaves - 2 tbsp
Lime Zest - 1 tsp
Parmesan Cheese - ½ cup
Salt
Pepper

What I did:
1. If using cold leftover rice, warm it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. 

2. I used frozen peas and brocoli. In a microwave safe bowl add water,salt and peas and  microwave  for 3  minutes. Drain and reserve. Similarly, microwave the broccoli for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve. 

3. In a big bowl toss the rice with butter and salt and pepper.

4. Then add the boiled peas, broccoli, lime zest, cilantro and parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese.

5. Toss everything together until well combined.

6. Set the oven on broiler. Pour everything in a oven-proof dish and broil for 4-5 minutes till the cheese is well browned.

Tip: Whenever using the broiler mode, do babysit your dish, because it goes from brown to black in no time.

Diabetic Platter:
Cod fish  is very low in Saturated Fat. It is also a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Potassium, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Selenium. Source here.


4 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lovely meal for weekends and fish balls are my fav! I never heard of this rice dish but i have broccoli at home, so woud definitely give this a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kankana... Thanks for visiting. Emerald rice is such a fancy name for this simple dish. Even I heard it first time on the show. Even if you do a Google search for this rice... it will not yield many results. You can even add few pomegranate seeds and call it Emerald Ruby Rice!!!

      You blog is beautiful... Pics are stunning... a real visual treat!

      Delete
  2. cod fish balls are looking perfect and coating looks very crispy..perfect meal for two

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Deepa... Nice cozy meal for two... Actually ei recipe ta je episord e eshechilo... setar name chilo.. "Romantic Dinner..."!!! LOL

      Delete

Your thoughts and comments is what keep "A Whiff of Spice" going