Last week, my husband and I returned to snowy Brooklyn from a two-week adventure in East Africa. Our belated honeymoon had been a truly magical trip — full of animal sightings, expansive landscapes, gorgeous sunsets, and for the most part, great food. We ate well throughout, but it wasn’t until we got to our last stop, the Kenyan beachfront paradise, Kiwayu Safari Village, that we were truly wowed by the food.
Every morning, a couple of the hotel workers would steer a little outboard into open water to pluck fresh seafood from the Indian Ocean, which was then cooked up for our lunch and dinner. In the five days that we were there, we had fresh crab, lobster, calamari, octopus, grouper, snapper, tuna, seaweed, dorade and oysters. And I'm probably forgetting a few other things.
Although food52 — and home — were more than 7000 miles away, I somehow had the presence of mind to ask the chef for a few of my favorite recipes. He gave me three, and I will publish them here, one at a time, over the next few weeks. While most of us don’t have the luxury of fish pulled from the ocean the very same day we're going to eat it, believe me when I say it is crucial to buy really fresh seafood for these recipes. It makes all the difference.
The first recipe is an Indian dish, a traditional Goan curry called a caldine. At the beach in Kenya, we had it with tuna, but it is often made with shrimp, which you can easily substitute here. All you need is some rice and a big salad, and you’ve got a great meal.
Ingredients3 tamarind pods
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
3 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
Juice of one large lime
1 1/2 pounds excellent quality tuna, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional, for garnish)
Rice, for serving