Fragrant Fish Stew

By Lee Holmes

Seafood is something that we all need to eat more of, but can be a terribly off putting experience if it isn’t cooked properly, isn’t selected as fresh as possible, or has been repeatedly presented with little creativity or complimentary flavours. 

Fish is in fact an extremely versatile protein that can be such a pleasure to eat. You just need a few different recipes that will allow this superfood ingredient to shine in different ways. This fragrant fish stew is one of them and it’s one of my favourite recipes from my new book Eat Right for Your Shape.

Fish is a wonderful source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids and iodine; two essential nutrients that Western populations are generally lacking. The DHA fats within seafood are very important for brain health and mood; and it’s believed that most adults in the West are lacking in DHA’s and don’t even know it! It’s frightening to imagine how vast an impact this deficiency could be having on our productivity, focus and general mental health.

Similarly, iodine is another nutrient that a majority of people are lacking; which has a negative impact on the health of our thyroid; the master organ behind virtually every hormonal and chemical reaction in our body. 

Iodine is most commonly found in seafood, so if you aren’t a regular eater of sea vegetables and creatures, then there is a very good chance you could be lacking in this vital nutrient.
Including this fragrant fish stew into your weekly meal plan is a great way to start including more seafood into your diet. Focusing on white fish fillets like snapper, flathead or dory makes it a much more palatable, light and less ‘fishy’ fish that the whole family should enjoy.

The recipe also has ayurvedic motivations in mind; including a host of grounding herbs and spices that will double up as powerful immune boosters during the sniffle season. 
It’s especially beneficial for those within the kapha dosha; with a host of fiery spices that will speed up a sluggish digestive system, increase detoxification and weight loss. 
If you’re pitta, you’re fiery enough; so omit the chillies, reduce the quantities of spices by half and replace the rice milk with cooling coconut milk. 
Vata’s can also enjoy this stew and will find it very balancing to omit the lime zest and also replace the rice milk with coconut milk.

Serves 4
• 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) white fish fillets, roughly chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• Celtic sea salt, to taste
• grated zest and juice of 1 lime
• 50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) ghee
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 4 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
• ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
• 10 curry leaves
• 1 teaspoon asafoetida
• 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) rice milk
• 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) fish or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
• freshly cracked black pepper, to serve
• cooked brown rice, to serve
• Place the fish in a bowl and sprinkle over the turmeric, cumin and a little salt. Add the lime zest and pour over the lime juice. 
• Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
• Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes or until translucent. 
• Add the chilli, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir through the cardamom, curry leaves and asafoetida, then add the milk and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low–medium and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the drained fish fillets and cook gently for 5 minutes or until just cooked.
• Season with salt and pepper, and serve on brown rice.


Broccoli bhajis

Broccoli bhajis
By Lee Holmes

(Autumn) (pitta) 
Serves 4

If you like traditional bhajis, give this healthier version a try. Broccoli is loaded with essential nutrients and has many therapeutic benefits, including detoxifying properties. It also fills and satisfies the tummy for a long time. Make broccoli bhajis your favourite dish for taming potentially fierce pittas.

300 g (10½ oz/2½ cups) besan (chickpea) flour
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Himalayan salt, to taste
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) filtered water
extra virgin coconut oil, for shallow-frying
120 g (4¼ oz/2 cups) broccoli florets
Chia jam (page 235) and Carrot and beetroot raita (page 235), to serve

Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl. Gradually add the water, stirring well to avoid lumps. 
The mixture should have a smooth, paste-like consistency.

Heat some coconut oil (about 4 cm/1½ inches deep) in a medium, heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Once the oil is hot (a small broccoli floret should sizzle and float), working in batches, dip the broccoli florets in the batter to coat well.
Drop into the pan and cook until crisp on all sides. Lay on paper towel to drain off any excess oil while you cook the next batch.

Serve warm with chia jam and carrot and beetroot raita.

Chia jam
By Lee Holmes

Serves 4

This natural, sugar-free jam suits all doshas. Fruit jams are delicious, but obtaining the desired consistency and firmness usually requires a large quantity of white sugar. This recipe uses chia seeds to create a perfect consistency, and rice malt syrup to add sweetness to the apple and berries. Delicious on its own, it can be used as a topping for pancakes – or a dollop added to the mixing bowl will sweeten up cakes, and a spoonful added to the pan will highlight curries.

1 apple, cored and grated
125 g (4½ oz/1 cup) mixed berries
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water
90–120 g (3¼–4¼ oz/¼–1⁄3 cup) rice malt syrup, to taste
35 g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) chia seeds

Combine the apple, berries, water and rice malt syrup in a small, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the consistency is thick.
Remove from the heat, stir through the chia seeds and transfer to a sterilised jar.
The jam will keep in the fridge for 5 days.

Carrot and beetroot raita
By Lee Holmes

Serves 3–4

520 g (1 lb 2½ oz/2 cups) sheep’s milk yoghurt
1 raw beetroot (beet), peeled and grated
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small capsicum (pepper), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Himalayan salt, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl by mixing gently with a spoon.
The raita will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.