Saturday, August 13, 2016

Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts with Three Sauces

     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts with Cilantro Chutney Mayonnaise, Brinjal and Habanero Catsup!
     Relatively few chefs publish new recipes for Lake Smelts these days.  Smelts can be adapted to many snack food recipes, so it is easy to think of something to do with Smelts that will appeal to guests.  For example, the Buffalo Smelts recipe that I published is one of the most popular recipes in this website, yet it is just based upon a basic Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe.   
     Fans of Indian food will surely like today's fancy beer batter fried smelts recipe.  Sports fans that like gourmet snack food for ball game parties will like this recipe too.  Garam Masala is a North Indian spice mixture that has a comfortable flavor.  Garam Masala is basically the Indian equivalent of a traditional European style Winter Spice Mixture, because it has a gentle warming effect.  
     Lake Smelts are usually listed as sustainable, so they are a guilt free fish choice.  Lake Smelts are just about as popular today, as they used to be, but they are rarely seen on modern restaurant menus.  Lakeside seafood restaurants and Chinese restaurants are just about the only kind of places where Smelts might be found on a menu.  
     The dipping sauces for today's recipe offer an interesting range of flavors.  Brinjal is a highly spiced eggplant spread or thick condiment sauce.  Jars of pre-made Brinjal can be found at Indian food markets and Mediterranean food markets.  Habanero ketchup is nice with fried fish and it is made by simply mixing two condiment sauces together.  Cilantro Chutney is another condiment that is easy to make, but it is much more cost effective to purchase it as a pre-made product at an Indian food markets.  Cilantro Chutney is a nice flavor for mayonnaise.

     Habanero Hot Sauce:
     Super Spicy Hot!
     This recipe yields about 1 pint.
     Ripe orange color habanero peppers can be found at nearly any asian market, Mexican market or regular grocery store.  
     If you have sensitive skin, be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling habaneros.  
     A food processor, blender or blending wand (immersion blender) is required for pureeing this sauce.  The sauce is pureed twice, so it becomes a very smooth consistency.
     Step 1:  Remove the stems from 8 ounces of orange habanero peppers. 
     Use a knife to slice halfway through each pepper, but do not cut the peppers in half.
     Step 2:  Place the peppers in a stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the peppers, with 2" of extra water.
     Step 3:  Add 4 cloves of garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of cider vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.
     Step 5:  Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer till the peppers are soft.  (About 1 1/2 to 2 hours.)
     *Allow the liquid to reduce.  Only add enough water to keep the peppers covered with 1" of extra liquid.
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the ingredients with an electric blending wand, food processor or a blender.
     Step 7:  Return the thin puree to the stainless steel pot.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the sauce a second time, so it becomes very smooth.
     *Orange Habanero Hot Sauce has a long shelf life, if the sauce is kept refrigerated. 

     Spicy Habanero Catsup:
     This recipe yields 1/2 cup. 
     Place 1/4 cup of the Habanero Hot Sauce in a mixing cup.
     Add 1/4 cup of organic ketchup. 
     Mix the ingredients together. 
     Keep the sauce chilled till it is needed.
     Cilantro Chutney Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.
     Jars of pre-made Cilantro Chutney can be found at Indian food markets.  
     Place 3 tablespoons of cilantro chutney in a mixing cup.
     Add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise.
     Mix the ingredients together. 
     Keep the sauce chilled till it is needed.

     Garam Masala Beer Batter:
     This recipe yields enough beer batter for 2 appetizer portions.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of light lager beer in a mixing bowl.
     Slowly add just enough flour while whisking, till the beer batter is a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.  (About 1 1/2 cups of flour.  The beer batter should be a thin pancake batter consistency.)
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Garam Masala.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Chile Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Step 3:  Whisk the ingredients together.
     Set the beer batter aside or chill it for later use.  

     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts:
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion.
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Select 8 ounces of cleaned boned Lake Smelts that are all about the same size.
     Dredge the smelts in flour.
     Step 3:  Dip a few of the smelts in the Garam Masala Beer Batter.
     Place a few beer batter smelts in the pot of hot oil at a time, so they do not stick together.  (Fry in small batches if necessary.)
     Fry the Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts till they are crispy golden brown and fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to remove the smelts from the hot oil.
     Place the fried smelts on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts with Three Sauces:
     Pre-made jars of Brinjal can be found at Indian food markets and Mediterranean food markets.  
     Mound the garam masala beer batter smelts on a plate.
     Fill a triple dished condiment tray (or 3 ramekins) with small portions of Brinjal, Habanero Catsup and Cilantro Chutney Mayonnaise.
     Place the condiment tray on the plate.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts are tasty finger food! 

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