May 26, 2007

Risotto Cakes with Lime Fish and Fresh Wild Rockets

I can't find any fresh fish sold here, and even when I went to the Farmers' Market last time, they were already frozen and were not swimming anymore. In Indonesia's traditional markets, the fish were always put in a drum or barrel of fresh water and were still swimming until we point our fingers at one of them so the fishmonger will kill and gut them for us. My mother would cook them as soon as we arrived home. They would taste sweet and delicious, marinade in garlic, coriander and tamarind paste.

My childhood was spent near the forest where I could go fishing in a little stream with my father. Sometimes, we were taken inside the jungle, where the deep river surrounded by thick rain forest trees was running smoothly, promising sweet river fish and little shrimps behind any river stones in the edge of the river. We had to be careful with snakes though, but we kids were not thinking about it. We would just enjoy the peaceful spot, eat our lunch which were generously packed in tin boxes by our mothers, while we're waiting for the adults to scream 'Hey, I got fish!'.

Fishing could be an expensive sport, but it would not be in a free river of the deep forest in Sumatra, Indonesia, where I grew up. I often used a long thin bamboo and just threw my hooked bait tied in a long string, then in a couple of minutes, I would catch a fish or a little cat fish (well, I think size does matter).

I miss going fishing. It might be great to do it again.

Risotto Cakes with Lime Fish and Fresh Wild Rockets

I like to use lime to give tangy flavour in fish like lemon fish which tends a little bit oily (not as much as salmon). The rockets are growing madly in our garden, even how hard we're trying to trim them by quantity. But, they are great and handy to add in salads.

Lime Fish

1 large lemon fish fillet, trim and cut up to bite size, zest and juice of 1 small lime, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, salt and pepper to season, oil for cooking

Put the garlic and half of the juice in a bowl. Give a good grind of black pepper and sea salt. Rub on to the whole fillet slices. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. Cook the fillets one at a time until cooked. Set aside.

Lime Sauce: heat the other half of lime juice, zest and 1 Tbs butter, 1 cloves garlic, chopped, salt and pepper in a small saucepan until boiling and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1-2 tsps white sugar to balance the sourness of lime. Check seasoning. Pour on to the cooked fish and serve with risotto cakes.

Risotto Cakes

1 ½ cups arborio, 4 cups fish stock, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 2 tsps salted butter, ½ cup grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to season, oil for cooking

Heat the oil on a large skillet, cook the onion and garlic until tender. Add in arborio, sautee for a minute, pour in the stock, cover and let all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked (Add more stock if the rice is still hard in the middle). Add butter and season with salt and pepper. Add Parmesan, mix well. Remove from the stove.

Prepare a baking dish, about 20 x 25cm, lined with baking paper. Put the cooked rice on to the dish, spread all over, and press (just like when you're making a biscuit base for cheesecake), so they'll be glued together. Refrigerate until firm. Put the firm rice on to the benchtop, then cut with a large cookie cutter to make nice round cakes.

Heat a frying pan, wipe it with oil or butter. Cook the cakes until golden on top on one side, then flip over to brown the other side. Set aside.


Bruno said...

What a beautiful dinner Arfi!! Great photos too!

Chris said...

This is wonderful! I would totally order this if I was at a restaurant. Bravo Arfi!

Arfi Binsted said...

Bruno: thank you!!

Chris: thanks, Chris :D