2018 Australian GP: Tandoori Snapper & Chilli Salt Squid Salad

For the Australian Grand Prix I pulled a few recipes from a 1990's-era nouveau cuisine cookbook: A Taste of Australia. We made Chilli Salt Squid Salad and a Tandoori Marinated fish. Cooking with squid is relatively new to me, and this was only my second time making calamari. It turns out to be super easy (given that the squid is cleaned ahead of time for you)! The spice blend on the calamari and the kick of chili in the dressing for the salad were surprising flavors and really quite good. With my penchant for vegetables and simpler meals, I think the salad would make a good meal in itself. Served with a nice cold glass of Australian chardonnay I'm set!

Australia Dinner

The tandoori marinated fish, though tasty, was a bit overcomplicated and underwhelming. I think the flavor of the fish disappears a bit in the melee of other spices in the marinade and sauce. I think it could be simplified. Maybe next year I'll do some more recipe development and bring it back around! In brighter news, I went on a proper hunt for an Australian cocktail and found a beauty: Spiced Pineapple Cocktail (recipe coming soon!)

Australia is always a great spectacle because it is the start of the season and everyone is raring to get back into the swing of things. The race itself was not very eventful when it came to championship challenges, overtaking, or on track drama. Only the double retirement of the Haas team and the heartbreaking video of the distraught mechanics broke up an otherwise straightforward race. It was great to see McLaren in good form and Alonso do what he does best: go fast! Ricciardo was also fun to watch, there is always a little more punch when it's one's home race. We cheered and watched rapt the whole race because no matter what the race was or was not, F1 IS BACK! 

Chilli Salt Squid Salad


Serves 4-6

2 fresh Serrano chili peppers
3 cups rice vinegar
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice

Seasoned Flour
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon cayenne powder
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon fine sea salt

1 lb squid, cleaned
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large carrot
1 large red chili pepper
1 small red onion

vegetable oil
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or if you want to be finicky you can pull cilantro leaves of the stems for a pretty finish)

To make dressing, cut the chili peppers in half lengthwise. Place the rice vinegar, sugar, and chili peppers in a saucepan over medium heat, reserve lime for adding at the end. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Strain and let cool.

To make seasoned flour, mix the flour and spices together and set aside.

To make salad, slice squid into 1/2 inch rings. Finely julienne the peppers, carrot and chili pepper. Finely slice the onion and mix it with other vegetables.

Heat vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Dip the squid in the flour mixture until each piece is well coated and then fry until the flour is crisp, about 1 minute. Drain and then slice the squid into 1/3 inch thick rings.

To serve, add the squid to the prepared vegetable and pour over the dressing. Toss and add the chopped cilantro.


Tandoori Marinated Snapper


Serves 4

Tandoori Paste
4 garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 medium tomato
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 snapper filets (6 oz per person), or other firm fleshed fish

5 red shallots
1 large green (Anaheim) chili pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt (not greek yogurt, you need the loose yogurt and the tang of plain yogurt)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Steamed basmati rice to serve


To make paste, peel the garlic and ginger and chop roughly. Quarter the tomato and remove the seeds. Chop roughly. Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste. Lightly smear both sides of the fish fillets with the paste and set aside.

To make sauce, peel the shallots and chop roughly. Roughly chop the chilli pepper. Place all the ingredients, except the yogurt in a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste. Place the mixture in a bowl and stir in the yogurt bit by bit until desired creaminess.

To cook the fish, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or skiller over medium heat. Pan-fry the snapper fillets.

To serve, place the snapper fillets on plates and spoon mint and yogurt sauce over. Serve with steamed basmati rice.