Wednesday 16 April 2014

Spice of life

Add an exotic twist to dinner time with delicious dishes by Shelina Permalloo

Sea Bass with coriander and chilli.

Shelina Permalloo's name will ring a bell with fans of 'MasterChef'. She won the TV cookery competition, and has since been inundated with requests to cook her food from the show.

Her objective in her new book, 'Sunshine on a Plate', was to create food that is accessible to all and to encourage people to experiment with new flavours.

The recipes are an introduction to the cooking of Mauritius, which has a brilliant mix of Creole, Indian, Chinese, European and African cuisines.

"It is safe to say that I have a serious and utterly distracting addiction to mangoes," says Shelina. She didn't realise quite how much she loved them until she was on 'MasterChef' and used them in lots of dishes.

This weekend, we publish the recipe for her delicious mango, rum and lime syllabub – the perfect foil to her spicy main courses.

'Sunshine on a Plate' is published by Ebury Press

Sea Bass with Coriander and Chilli


1 x 1kg whole sea bass, gutted and scaled

½ bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped

1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted

2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt For the dressing Juice of 2 limes

1 tsp unrefined light muscovado sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tbsps olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Clean the sea bass, wiping it inside and out with kitchen paper. Use a sharp knife to gently score the fish with three to four diagonal cuts on both sides. Stuff the inside of the fish with the fresh coriander.

Mix together the chillies, cumin seeds, olive oil and salt and rub this mixture all over the outside of the fish. Place the fish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. The skin should crisp up nicely as the fish is not covered.

Check if the fish is cooked – the flesh should be opaque and feel firm to the touch. Return to the oven for a further five minutes if necessary.

Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Once the fish is cooked, remove the fillets using two spoons and then drizzle a little dressing over each portion.

Tandoori Chicken

Typically this would be cooked in a tandoor or clay oven, but this version is just cooked in an ordinary oven. Serves four.


8 skinless chicken legs For the marinade 1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsps sweet paprika

200ml natural yogurt

Juice of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, finely minced For the red rice with thyme 300g basmati rice, steamed

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

200g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp salt

2 tbsps fresh thyme leaves


Place all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Place the chicken legs in a dish and slash the meat a few times each to create grooves. Rub the marinade into the chicken, ensuring it gets right into the grooves to enable it to permeate through the meat.

Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least two to three hours, or overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the red rice. Steam the basmati rice. Place the garlic, red chilli, tomatoes and salt into a large pan and cook over a medium heat for about five to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, then add the cooked rice and thyme leaves.

Mango, rum and lime syllabub

Serves four.


4 ginger biscuits, crushed

300ml double cream

½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

3 tbsps unrefined icing sugar

75ml rum, plus 4 tsps

Zest and juice of 4 limes

150ml tinned alphonso mango puree (alternatively, blitz fresh mangoes in a food processor)

2 alphonso mangoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes

Desiccated coconut, to sprinkle over the top

Mint leaves, to decorate (optional)


Put the ginger biscuits into a large plastic bag – a sandwich bag is ideal – and bash vigorously with a rolling pin until you have a bag of crumbs.

Using an electric whisk, lightly whip the double cream. Add the vanilla seeds, icing sugar, the 75ml of rum, and lime juice and zest, reserving a little for decoration. Keep whisking until it forms light peaks.

Add about one-third of the mango puree and half the cubed mango and fold through for a marbled effect.

To assemble the syllabubs, divide the crumbs between four glasses. Sprinkle a teaspoon of rum over each and top with the rest of the mango puree. Spoon the cream over the top.

Just before serving, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and reserved lime zest. Decorate with the mint leaves, if using.

Irish Independent

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