Without doubt, Indian dishes possess the most complex flavor as they use a plethora of spices. To my knowledge, they have 10 essential spices in their cooking: cumin (earthy and slightly bitter), coriander (nutty and fruity – it’s the key element for Masala), mustard seeds (peppery), ginger (peppery), garam masala (a blend of spices which is region-dependent), turmeric (relative of ginger, gives the food vivid yellow color), cardamon (eucalyptus note and citrusy), clove (anise taste), red chili pepper (spicy) and curry leaves (citrusy, woody and slightly bitter).

Living outside my country taught me to appreciate other dishes aside from our own Filipino cuisine. Our travels also introduced different kinds of cuisines to my taste buds and generally expanded my perspective about food. Indian cuisine is one of the amazing cuisines that opened me to a whole new world of spices. Back in Singapore, the proximity of my previous workplace to Tekka Market and Mustafa Centre allowed me to pass by these places quite frequently. These two places will expose you to many things about Indian culture and their cuisines.

Tikka is a cuisine from Punjab, a marination with spices and yogurt. Tikka Salmon with Rice is an appetizing and vivid dish, combining yellow rice, orange salmon and green coriander. Don’t worry with the spices, they are mild!

Tikka Salmon with Rice

Serves: 3-4

350-500g salmon fillet, skinned slice into 6-8
150ml natural low-fat yogurt (portioned)
1 large red onion, chopped
small pack coriander, chopped
3 tablespoon tikka curry paste (portioned)
2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
50g soft dried apricots, chopped
200g brown basmati rice
800ml water

1. Combine 1 tablespoon of Tikka curry paste with 2 tablespoon yogurt. Season salmon with the yogurt paste all over the fillets, then set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large pan and add onion. Boil water in a kettle. Cook the onion for 5 minutes to soften, and stir in the remaining curry paste and rice, then cook for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, apricots and season well and give everything a good stir. Pour in 800ml water from the kettle. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Cover with a lid, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes more.
3. Uncover the rice and give it a good stir. Put the salmon fillets on top of the rice and cover with lid. Adjust the heat to lowest setting and leave undisturbed for 15 minutes more until the salmon and rice are perfectly cooked. Scatter over the coriander, and serve with the yogurt.