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Tandoori Salmon Cakes

We are still Shackless as it seems like his movie is never going to end and he is never coming home from Montreal. The only thing we can do to stop ourselves from crying ourselves to sleep every night is to continue to dine on the creatures of the sea. It is our cross to bear.

I was actually not planning to make salmon at all today (I was going to whip up some chili nachos) but then I went to the store for mustard and ended up buying a nice piece of salmon instead. It wasn't quite enough to serve the two of us so I needed to stretch it a bit. I toyed with the idea of making a salmon risotto or pasta or something but nothing was grabbing me. Time for salmon cakes. I often make extra salmon just I can make cakes the next day but this was the first time I cooked salmon just for that purpose. Because I have been craving Indian food for a week, tandoori salmon cakes were now on the menu. As is often the case, I have made them before but I have never really paid attention to exactly what I put in them so this is a great opportunity for me to get it all down in writing.

Okay, this seems like lots of prep work to make little salmon cakes when you could just eat some tandoori salmon but trust me, it's worth it. Once you have the cooked salmon, they are really easy to make, the come together really quickly and are as tasty as all get out. You can always make salmon cakes out of decent quality canned salmon too but it really is so much nicer to use the real thing.
You can make them spicy if you want by adding a bit of cayenne or something but I like to keep them mild so that the flavour of the salmon and the papadum coating doesn't get lost in the heat.

If you have never made papadums at home, they are dead easy. For something like this I just put the papadums in the toaster. I keep an eye on them and spin them after about 10 seconds or so to ensure that the entire thing gets toasted but you have to know your own toaster. If you prefer to toast them another way or if they don't fit in your toaster, fry in a hot pan with a tiny bit of oil - the pan should be almost dry - just wipe the bottom with a bit of oil. You can also broil them about 4-6" from the element but keep a close eye - only about 20 seconds per side, tops. Some people also swear by microwaving them for about 15 seconds per side. If you are lucky enough to have a gas stove, you can also toast them over the open flame using tongs, toasting them for a few seconds per side.  As long as they are cooked and crunchy, it doesn't matter how they go there.

Tandoori Salmon Cakes
Makes 4 hockey puck sized cakes

340g piece of salmon fillet, skin on

* this marinade is enough for twice the amount of salmon

2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 onion, rough chop
3 cloves garlic, rough chop
2 inch piece ginger, rough chop
1 cup greek yogurt
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tbls lemon juice
2 tbls white vinegar
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp garam masala

To make the marinade, blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth paste. Season with salt to taste.

Marinate the salmon for at least a couple of hours and preferably all day.

When it's time to cook it, remove the salmon from the marinade, brush the excess marinade off and get rid of the marinade.
Preheat the oven to 450F

I like to heat an oven proof pan over med to med high heat and add a bit of oil and then put the salmon fillets in the pan, skin side down and cook for about three or four minutes like that, until the skin is getting nice and crispy. Then I pop the whole thing in a really hot oven until its cooked, about another 10 minutes. I then whip it out, put the rack up to the top, turn on the broiler and then broil the fish for a couple of minutes.

Let the salmon cool to room temp before you take it off the skin and flake it up in a big bowl. If you are making the salmon earlier in the day, leave in the fridge until you are ready to make your salmon cakes.

Now it's time to make the fish cakes:

Cooked, cooled, skinned, flaked tandoori salmon
2 tbls minced red onion
2 tbls chopped cilantro
juice of half a lime
2 tbls mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1/4 cup panko
1/2 cup crushed, toasted papadums (it took about 3 of them but it depends on the size)
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp of tandoori masala if you have some, but not necessary
veg oil for frying

Mix the salmon with the onion, cilantro, lime juice, mayo, garlic and 1/4 cup the papadum and panko mixture (mix the panko with the papadum, put 1/4 of that in the salmon mixture and set the rest aside in a shallow bowl). Add some salt and pepper and take a tiny taste to make sure the seasoning is good. If you have some tandoori masala lying around, add about 1/2 tsp to pump up the tandoori volume. Now, dredge them in the remaining mixture of panko/papadum.

Form into 4 hockey puck sized patties and put in the fridge for about at least 15 or 20 minutes before you fry them.

Heat enough oil to just coat the bottom of a frying pan over med highish heat. Fry the little cakes for about 2 minutes per side, until nice and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain a bit before you eat them.

*serve with tamarind chutney, raita or any other chutney or indian condiment that you like

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