Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday, February 19th - Basa and Bap

Breakfast was a bowl of Optimum Power cereal and D had organic yogurt with a kiwi and Smart Bran.

Lunch, I had some Mandu from mom. I just sauteed them in a tiny bit of oil and water. I made a dipping sauce of soy, rice wine vinegar and chilis.

Dinner, I bought some Basa fillets and I'm going to serve it with Jerk spice, asparagus and 'Bap'. It's an african dish of white cornmeal simply boiled in salted water.

Jerk Basa

I took a 1.5 lb filet of basa frozen. I sprinkled some of my favorite Walker's spice all over it and on the back and left it out to thaw on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on a broiling pan. It was frozen solid so I knew it was safe to do so since I'd be cooking it off right away after a few hours. I would not recommend you leave fish or chicken out at room temperature over night or all day (by the by, my place is slightly chilly as well, so that helped me not worry. I hate the idea of germs, bacteria or rotting). I thaw on metal. The conduction of the metal speeds thawing. Glass will not do the same.

As it thawed, I drained the water off into a small skillet I had the pan sitting on top of. I simply tipped in whatever liquid I had collecting, spices and all. When I thought most of the liquid was gone and the fish was mostly thawed after 2-3 hours, I took my Jerk Rub that I used a couple of weeks ago, see the photo of the label (Metropolitan Chef spice Rubs). I wouldn't recommend it. It was more allspice than thyme or heat. That distinctive hit you get when you open a Walkers is not there at all. Actually, you know which is not bad at all, the PC brand sauce in a bottle. Spicy and proper aroma. I used 1T of the Jerk Rub augmented by more of my Walkers, 1t and 1T of soy, 1t of white wine vinegar (you can use plain) and 1.5T of vegetable oil. Mix well. I chopped 2cloves of garlic and minced 2 birdseye red thai chilis (you know those tiny dangerous looking ones) and added them to the rub. I poured it all over the top of the fillet. And if any spilled over the side, I pushed it under the fish.

Chop 1/2 medium white onion. Sprinkle all over the fish and shove some under as well. Let it sit for another hour or two (at least half an hour if you're running late)

As a side, I took one bunch of fresh asparagus. I was lazy so I chopped one inch off the ends instead of doing the snapping thing to get the woody bit off the end. I tossed them in olive oil and salt and pepper.

Turn the broiler on high. Put the rack in at second from the top. Drain any last minute liquid off the fish into the skillet. Add the asparagus all along the sides. Place under the broiler. After 5-10 minutes turn the pan around 180 degrees so that the asparagus gets' evenly cooked. Toss the aspargus a bit with thongs. Broil for another 10-15. Crack it open to check it but the broiler works best for the veg if you leave the door closed like a BBQ. D was running late so I turned the oven off and left the door closed for like 10-15 and it was still piping hot when he got over.

BAP - white cornmeal

While the broiler is going, or even before, I did it before, boil hard the drain off water and add more water until you have at least 2 c. skim off any milky fat that comes the surface. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Add salt and pepper (taste it though. Jerk rub has salt) Add more water whenever necessary. Measure out 3/4 c (two people healthy portion no leftover) of white cornmeal, medium coursness. Rain it over the water, and whisk with a fork or whisk. Try and get it smooth but you're gonna have lumps. I had to add quite a bit more water as it cooked through and just as it was done and I turned off the heat, I poured on 1/4c water and mixed it in. It seemed a bit watery but that's okay, I put the lid on and let it sit until I needed it. The african version I had in South Africa was quite dense and clumpy and no spices and it was yum. I did a texture somewhere between that and grits.

Serve out the BAP on your plates. Top with a piece of fish and veg on the side. Actually, I just served out the BAP and then brought the whole fish and asparagus drill set up on a tray for self serve.

I had a Smirnoff Cosmo.

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