April 11th, 2010

Keralan Style Cod Loin En-Papillote with Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw

Summer is on it’s way and I’m already starting to think of food for the BBQ. This dish sounds complicated but it’s not, it’s incredibly delicious and just right to be the cooking entertainment  for the perfect party. You can prepare most of the elements in advance and put it all together at the last minute. This dish is also a great sharing dish, I prefer not to cut the fish in small serving size portions as it helps the fish to retain it’s moisture and succulence.

This Keralan Style Cod Loin En-Papillote could be baked in the oven or cooked on the BBQ over cool coals, just before serving. The term “en papillote” describes the technique of cooking and serving food wrapped in paper or foil. Any fish benefits from being cooked in this way as the flavours are sealed in during cooking. The paper swells as steam is produced and you have a moist and succulent piece of fish.

I prepared this Keralan inspired marinade, with a slight Japanese twist, by the addition of fish sauce also known as Nam Pla. Living in Britain is a fantastic place to be for foodies, we have the amalgamation of many different cultures all with their own cooking styles and traditions. I’m very selfish, so I cook food I love to eat, but I might borrow a few ideas from around the globe to fuse with my own style. This marinade is Keralan inspired with plenty of coconut, mild curry powder, turmeric, limes and coriander. This recipe is by no means traditional as it is my own creation.

Cod is a fantastic fish with  large flaky white flesh. It’s subtle fish flavour allows a keen cook to experiment, as it easily absorbs most  flavours regardless of their strength or subtleness. The trick is to balance the flavours by getting the right mixture of saltiness, sweetness, sourness and bitterness to create the perfect taste sensations that work best with the cod.

It’s very important that we always purchase fish from reputable fishmongers and from sustainable sources. Do not be scared to ask questions about the origin of the fish, freshness, sustainability and fishing methods used. All fishmongers should know the answers to these questions.

I also served  the cod with a crisp citrus Keralan slaw. Reason for calling it a slaw is because most of the ingredients are raw and I also added a few interesting textures with the shaved fresh coconut and toasted almonds.

How to open a fresh coconut….

I have learned a few tricks by working with people from all walks of life.Recently I learned how to open a coconut with ease and how to get to the delicious white flesh out without injuring myself. First you need to remove the coconut water, one of the three eyes of the coconut is thin and you need to locate which one it is. In my case it’s always the last one. You do not need a lot of force just use a sharp paring knife and find which one it is, make a hole and shake  the coconut until all the water is removed. Then wrap the coconut in a clean tea towel and crack the coconut with a hammer . Then place the coconut pieces on a baking tray and bake it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 minutes, leave to cool completely.It will now be easy to remove the white coconut  flesh from the hairy hard exterior by pushing a blunt butter knife in between the  flesh and the hard shell. Rinse under cold water, pat dry and the fresh coconut is ready to use.

Keralan Cod En-Papillote

  • 2 x 340g whole cod loin fillets

For the marinade:

  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp medium/mild curry powder
  • 2tbs desiccated coconut or grated fresh coconut
  • 1tbs sunflower oil
  • 4tbs chopped fresh coriander (approximately 15g of fresh coriander)
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1tbs fish sauce
  • 1 mild green chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1tsp honey
  • 1tbs of fresh lime juice and the zest of one lime

First make the marinade by placing the ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste.

Rub the marinade over the two cod loins, fold the thin tail end of each cod  underneath the loin( this will ensure that the fish cooks evenly).

Refrigerate to let the fish absorb the marinade and infuse for 20 minutes.

For the En-Papillote:

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Heat 1tbs of sunflower oil  in a non stick frying pan and colour the cod presentation side  first for 2 minutes to give it a lovely caramelised colour. Once browned immediately transfer the fish to the parchment paper. Cut 2 x large pieces of parchment paper measuring 60cm x 40cm. Place one piece of fish in the center browned side up, one piece per paper. Fold the two ends of the paper together to close the opening and then tuck the other two sides underneath to close the parcel. Transfer the parcels to a baking tray and bake the cod in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 2 minutes. Open the paper and serve the cod on the Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw.

Food Fanatics Tips

For the BBQ: This dish is perfect to be cooked on the BBQ however use foil instead of parchment paper. Remember to lightly grease the foil with sunflower oil. Place the foil shiny side up, grease the shiny side and follow the rest of the instructions for the fish as above. Close the parcel by folding the edges together and place the cod parcel over cool coals on the BBQ. I would recommend cooking the cod right at the end just before serving, cook for 10 minutes on the BBQ, leave the cod loin to rest for 2 minutes before opening the foil parcels and serve.

Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw

  • 1 fennel finely sliced
  • 20g fresh coconut, finely shaved
  • 80g bean shoots
  • 1 bok choi, finely shredded
  • 80g green beans, blanched and sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Small hand full of coriander leaves
  • 1 punnet mustard cress
  • 20g toasted flaked almonds
  • Segments of 2 limes
  • Zest of 2 limes and the juice of one
  • 1tbs Olive oil
  • ½ tsp honey
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

First make the  vinaigrette by mixing the oil, honey and limejuice together and season to taste.

In a large mixing bowl add the sliced fennel, bean shoots, shredded bok choi, sliced green beans, lime segments, coriander leaves, shaved coconut, sliced spring onions, coriander cress and toasted almonds, add the vinaigrette and give the salad a good mixing.

Serve immediately with the Keralan Cod.

(Serves 4 - 6)


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4 Comments to “Keralan Style Cod Loin En-Papillote with Crisp Citrus Keralan Slaw”

  1. David says:

    How inspiring! Thanks so much for the tip on how to open a coconut, I always avoided it as I never knew how to get inside. I shall defiantly give it a go. Thanks for the great work and wonderful meaningful tips.

  2. You are right this does sound complicated but reading the recipe it seems much simpler. I am getting into fish now we have a fresh fish seller at our Sunday market. Will try a version of this with one of our NZ fish.

  3. riya says:

    very nice presentation. love your recipe & your plate!

  4. Madalene says:

    We cooked this dish at yesterdays Catch and Cook event with Food Safari UK http://www.foodsafari.co.uk/page/catch-and-cook.
    The response was well received and the consensus where this is a perfect family style dish and a good replacement for a Sunday roast. The cod we cooked came from the Suffolk coast, fresh with it’s lime green almost translucent flesh, fantastic!! Cod is plentiful right now. Mark Fleton skipper and owner of The Panther http://www.panthercharters.co.uk/ where delighted when we served on board cod sashimi with wasabi vinaigrette and a sesame, ginger and soy vinaigrette, it showcased the fresh cod at it’s best.

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