A winter warmer from Ian Leckie, Head Chef at Sam's Brasserie and Bar
4 x 150g portions of Hake (or other firm white fish like cod)
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped into small dice
1 leek, chopped into small dice
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp canola or olive oil
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp garam masala or curry powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp of turmeric
2 cups of Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
Baby spinach (to finish)
For the lentils
1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over a medium heat.
2. Add the onion, carrot, leek and celery and stir frequently for several minutes until softened.
3. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cayenne, turmeric and garam masala.
4. Add the lentils, water and salt and stir well.
5. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are soft (add salt to taste).
For the mint yoghurt
½ cup plain yoghurt
2 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp white sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. In a small bowl stir together the yogurt, chopped mint, sugar, salt and cayenne until well mixed.
2. Serve immediately or chill for a while to let the flavours come together.
For the Bhajis
4 large shallots, sliced
1½ cups chick pea flour or all purpose flour
½ tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
A splash of milk if the mix is too thick
Vegetable oil for frying1. Beat the egg in a bowl, add the shallots and mix well.
2. Add the flour, coriander and cumin and stir well to combine.
3. Heat some oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat. When hot add a large spoonful of the Bhaji mixture and fry for 30-45 seconds until golden brown.
4. Turn the Bhaji over and fry for a further 30 seconds until crisp and golden brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
5. Repeat with the remaining Bhaji mixture, replenishing the oil in the pan if it runs low and allowing it to heat up again.
For the fish
1. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan.
2. Place the fish skin side down and cook for about 1 minute.
3. If using an oven-safe pan, place it directly into a pre-heated oven (200°c or gas mark 6) for 7-8 minutes, otherwise transfer to a roasting tin.
4. Remove from the oven and turn over (using the residual heat in the pan/ tin to finish cooking the fish).
Lay the fish on a bed of lentils**, adding a little baby spinach for colour. Place the Bhaji on top, drizzle the mint yoghurt around the plate and serve with a wedge of lemon.