Chunks of mako shark perch atop Indian-style rice redolent of cinnamon, bay leaf, mustard seed, clove, and cilantro--a tantalizing combination that's heady but not hot. It's customary to leave the whole spices in the rice, but warn your guests about the cloves; they're overwhelming if you bite into one.
1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice
2 1/4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons black or yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup chopped, roasted, unsalted cashews
1 1/2 pounds shark steak, about 1 inch thick, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
4 lemon wedges, for serving
How to Make It
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a medium saucepan with the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, without removing the lid, for 10 minutes.
In a small frying pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until they begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add the cashews; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds longer. Gently stir the cashew mixture into the rice with a fork.
Heat a grill pan or large heavy frying pan over moderately high heat. Thread the shark onto four small skewers; rub with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the lemon juice, and garlic. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook the kabobs, turning, until just done, about 8 minutes. Add the cilantro to the rice and mound on plates. Top with the shark kabobs and serve with the lemon wedges.
Wine Recommendation: Try matching this aromatic preparation with that most aromatic of all whites, gewürztraminer. Look for a bottle from Alsace or a slightly less acidic version from California.
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