Machli Kabab Tikka (Fish Kebabs)

This recipe is in honor of the opening of our newest restaurant, Amber Dhara on Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco TODAY! ( πŸ™‚

This recipe is not on our menu nor an ‘Amber’ recipe by any means, but I thought I would post one of my most versatile Indian-style fish kebab recipes for all of you to enjoy on this special day. πŸ™‚

This is the perfect weeknight meal that you can put for marination in the morning, and come evening, you can grill it on a grill pan, on a BBQ, or even roast it off in the oven! Or if you want to impress your friends, grill this up at your next weekend party! It’s healthy, delicious, and unbelievably easy to put together!

This is a spicy recipe, so if you want to tone down the spice factor, cut out one (or both!) of the green chilis from the marinade!

Last but not least, for my lovely vegetarians out there, try this with TOFU instead of fish, and you will have yourself a delicious tofu kebab! πŸ™‚ Use firm tofu, make shallow slits in the tofu pieces to allow the marinade to soak in, and follow the same exact directions!

Enjoy πŸ™‚


1 lb of firm white fish, such as cod, halibut, or sea bass, cubed (make sure the fish is de-boned and fresh!)

1/4 cup of yogurt, plain
2 green chilis, ends cut off but whole
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
Optional: 1 tablespoon melted butter, for basting


Make the marinade by putting all the marinade ingredients in a blender. Pulse/blend until well-incorporated into a liquid marinade.

Place the marinade in a glass bowl with the fish cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours. [Note: make sure the plastic wrap is on tight so that the fish does not send odors into your other foods in your fridge, or use a tupperware set that has a tight closing lid!]

Thread the ingredients onto oiled skewers (metal or wood), and barbecue or grill for about 5-7 minutes until the fish is cooked through. [If you don’t mind a few extra calories, use the melted butter and brush the cubes with butter frequently to prevent the fish from sticking].

Finish by sprinkling with Kosher salt, to taste.

Serve hot with lime or lemon wedges. I highly recommend serving it with hot naan as well and a cucumber salad! πŸ™‚

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod

This is probably my all-time favorite preparation of fish. And many of you know how MUCH I love my baked/grilled fish, so this really means a lot!!! This recipe is definitely not my own, BUT it is one of those rare recipes that actually tastes EXACTLY like the dish I had in the restaurant.

The love affair between me and Miso Black Cod started many years ago (circa 2006) in Manhattan at the infamous Nobu restaurant. I ordered it as a fluke, and from that moment onward decided that any time I hit the Big Apple, I simply HAD to go to Nobu and order the miso cod! It was love at first bite.

Famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa has so generously shared his secret recipe online with Food & Wine, and who would have KNOWN that it was SO SO simple (yet so luscious and tasty!?) πŸ™‚ I believe this recipe can also be found in his cookbook (I already ordered mine and it’s on it’s way! :)).

If you follow the recipe to the T, you are guaranteed to have a party in your mouth of amazing miso flavors with the most tender, delicious black cod fish you will ever have. (Yes, I am a bit biased, but I mean it!!).

Enjoy one of my favorite recipes of ALL TIME. πŸ™‚ Woohoo! And Happy Friday πŸ™‚

Yields: 2 servings (Note: I doubled this recipe when I made it for my family – just double all the ingredients!)


3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sake (I used good quality sake that I enjoy and get from Whole Foods, however you can also use ‘cooking sake’ that is available at your local Asian store – either way is fine!)
1/2 cup white miso paste (available fresh in the refrigerated section of most Asian and Japanese markets – make sure you get WHITE miso paste, not red! It will change the taste profile completely otherwise!)
1/3 cup sugar
2 (two) 6 or 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick (you can substitute with other firm white fish varieties!)
Vegetable oil, for grilling

Optional Garnish: Chopped green onions, pickled ginger


In a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. Whisk in the miso paste until dissolved completely. Lower the heat to moderate heat, and add in the sugar until incorporated. (Feel free to taste the marinade at this point and decide whether you prefer more sugar, more miso, etc. Although, if you measure the ingredients per the above, it should be a stellar outcome!)

Transfer the marinade to a glass baking dish and let cool (you don’t want to put fresh fish in a HOT marinade – it will cook on the spot!)

Reserve about 1/2 cup of the marinade to serve with the final product. Add the fish into the remaining marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours in an airtight container (trust me, you don’t want the fish smell to seep into your other food goodies in the fridge!).

Note: If you don’t have that much time, even a few hours will do wonders, although for the true depth of flavor, go the whole way and do the 1-2 day marination!

After your fish is done marinating…

Preheat the oven to 400Β°.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan and oil it with the vegetable oil using a brush. Carefully scrape the marinade off the fish using a butter knife. Make sure the grill pan is very hot before adding the fish. Grill over high heat until browned/blackened a bit, about 2 minutes each side.

Move the fish onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes in your pre-heated oven on the middle rack, until flaky.

Transfer to plates and serve hot with reserved marinade! Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Note: The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Asian-Inspired Shrimp with Peas

It’s so refreshing to see how versatile shrimp is in the kitchen- whether you make it American style or Asian, Moroccan style or with Latin-inspired chilis and spices. Another beauty about shrimp is that they cook extremely quickly and provide a great protein for weeknight meals (or quick meals!).

This recipe is my go-to recipe when we have last-minute guests over or when I’m just craving something quick and satisfying (PS for some reason, this dish has been appealing to the little kiddos in my life too!). The moment I start this meal, I put the rice for cooking on the stove or in my rice cooker and start on the shrimp. To make things easier on you, try getting shrimp that is already shelled and deveined (it will save you a lot of time!).

Lastly, I call this recipe ‘Asian-inspired’ only because of the sugar, soy sauce, and corn starch combination that is commonly used in Asian dishes – however you can get through a few shrimp without even realizing there is soy in it! It is a very subtle, but delicious taste that allows the shrimp to show off it’s natural flavors.

My favorite grain to accompany this dish is saffron rice! Just toss a pinch of saffron into your rice cooker or your rice pot over the stove and that’s all! You will end up with a beautiful yellow/orange saffron-perfumed rice.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Yields: 6 servings

2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 green onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground or grated ginger (I freeze peeled ginger pieces and grate whenever needed – stays fresh!)
1 cup peas, frozen (or drained and rinsed from can)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar (I prefer light brown)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 teaspoons soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
3 tablespoons cold water
hot cooked rice, cous cous, or quinoa, any style


Heat vegetable oil in heavy skillet and once hot, add shrimp until brown (about 2 minutes), tossing when needed. Add green onion, garlic, ginger and peas; turn down heat and cook on low for about 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl make a smooth paste out of cornstarch, sugar, salt, soy sauce, and cold water. Add to shrimp mixture, stirring until thick. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Serve over hot rice/hot grains.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

BBQ is season is here! And there is some beautiful shrimp hitting the grocery markets right now. Hope you all get to enjoy this tasty, simple grilled shrimp recipe with your friends and family!

Note: You can make this versatile dry spice rub ahead of time (without the olive oil, of course!) and keep it ready for whenever you want to BBQ anything – can be used on steak, chicken, and even pork and lamb!


1/4 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon chopped onion powder (optional)

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
Cooking spray
1/2 wedge lime


Prepare grill (or grill pan on stove) to medium-high heat.

Combine first 7 ingredients and extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Add shrimp into the bowl; toss well to coat evenly.

Thread shrimp evenly onto 8 (8-12-inch long) skewers (TIP: soak these in water for a few minutes before threading the shrimp so that they do not burn/char on the grill).

Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes or until done, turning once.

Cous Cous Salad with Asparagus Pesto and Shrimp

I thought I’d show all of you a fun way to use my last two recipe postings as a healthy salad! I am always used to having left overs because I hate having guests over and not having enough food, so I always make a little extra πŸ˜‰ Here is a fun little recipe (and SO easy) that shows you one of many ways to use leftover Asparagus Pesto and Moroccan-Spiced Shrimp! My use of cous cous is a much healthier alternative to rice!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚


2 cups pearled (or Israeli) cous cous [the one shown below is the exact brand I used]

2.5 cups of hot water (or you can use a broth of your choice!)
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1-1.5 cups of Asparagus Pesto
2 cups of Moroccan-spiced shrimp (or any cooked shrimp)

Optional garnish: sliced almonds or pine nuts, for added crunch! πŸ™‚

Yields 6-8 generous servings


Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Add in cous cous, turn down heat, cover the pot and simmer for 8-10 minutes until cous cous is cooked through.

Toss cous cous with asparagus pesto, spiced shrimp (you can also add regular boiled shrimp or store-bought cooked shrimp), and cherry tomatoes. Taste for seasonings and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or you can make this ahead and serve as a cold salad!

Moroccan-Spiced Shrimp

This recipe is very quick, very easy, and VERY tasty. This is the perfect weeknight dish – as long as you have all of the ingredients at home, it takes less than 15 minutes to make. In this recipe, you cook the spices and garlic in extra-virgin olive oil to liven up the aroma and taste of the ingredients, and then flash-sautee the shrimp in the spicy oil you have created.

I know that some of the spices used are harder to find, but if you can get your hands on them and add them to your spice closet, you will be so thankful you did! The flavors brought about by the harissa and berbere (see below for a quick run down of what ‘berbere’ actually is) are really hard to replicate with other spices.

Berbere is a fantastic and unique spice that typically is found in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a spice mixture that typically includes ingredients such as: chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, korarima (ethiopian cardamom), rue, white and black pepper, fenugreek.


Yields: 4 servings


1 lb large, peeled deveined shrimp
5 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger (TIP: I keep peeled ginger in the freezer for freshness and grate it whenever I need it!)
1 tablespoon dry harissa
1 tablespoon berbere
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt, to taste


Salt the shrimp well and set aside.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic. Turn the heat down to low-medium and saute the garlic for 1-3 minutes – don’t let it burn! To help avoid burning, move it around in the pan often. This process is allowing the oil to absorb the garlic flavor.

Now all of the ground spices and stir well to combine, stirring often. Cook for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up to high and add the shrimp. Stir to combine and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp turn pink. This should take between 3-5 minutes (try not to overcook the shrimp – they can dry out very quickly!).

Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and toss to combine. Taste one shrimp for seasonings, and add salt if required.

Serve over some steamed rice or vegetables or by themselves. Enjoy!

Note: I even use the leftover shrimp from this recipe and mix it into pastas and salads – believe it or not, this dish is EVEN BETTER the next day because the flavors have marinated even further into the shrimp over night! This can also be served as an appetizer / finger food!

Herb & Red Onion Shrimp and Scallop Cakes

I absolutely love my seafood, and love experimenting with fish other than salmon (which is my go-to fish). This recipe is so incredibly fresh and seriously herbacious (after all, it has parsley, cilantro, and basil!) with the perfect citrus addition from the lemon zest and juice. I recently packed these into my picnic basket for a grassy lunch soiree since they are so little, cute, and transportable once cooked! These are best served over some peppery arugula, with any ginger-soy sauce combination, or even a smidgen of tartar sauce or chipotle mayo! You can even go commando on these and eat them as is, hot off the skillet.


Yields: enough for 4-6 people for appetizers/snacks!


4 tablespoons butter (or 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil), divided
1/2 lb. fresh bay scallops
1/2 lb. shrimp, any size, peeled and deveined
1/2-3/4 medium red onion, chopped (depending on your taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
2 eggs
1 handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (can be herb-seasoned, italian-seasoned, or plain!)


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.

Place the following into a food processor: onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, eggs, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Now add parsley, cilantro, basil leaves, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, lemon zest, Kosher salt, pepper and pulse on medium setting until finely chopped. Now add scallops and shrimp into food processor, and pulse on low. Gradually pour in breadcrumbs, continuing to pulse until the mixture starts to firm up, but it should still be moist and somewhat sticky from the eggs. Do not pulse it to a point where the seafood loses it’s texture completely if possible.You want your cake to have texture and be chunky, instead of feeling like a seafood mousse cake.

Form the mixture into palm-size patties (to get a professional look, use mold rings, and make sure the cakes are about 1 inch thick (any thicker and you will have to cook them longer).

[Note: at this point in the process, if you feel like the texture of your mixture is not right, adjust it by adding more breadcrumbs (if it is too liquidy) or add more olive oil or egg to moisten it (if you feel it is too hard/firm). Moisture is coming from many different sources in this recipe – the seafood itself, eggs, lemon juice, vegetables – and sometimes small variances in size / type can affect the consistency of the mixture].

Place on a plate, cover with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour so they can harden a bit. If you want to store them for a few hours, you can cut out little squares of parchment paper and stack the fish cakes on top of each other with a sheet of parchment paper between each cake. [If you want to make extra sure they won’t stick, use cooking spray on each side of each sheet as insurance!]

Remove cakes from fridge and heat 2 tablespoons of butter (which adds a richness to the taste) -but if you are trying to stay heart-healthy, use 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil instead, in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Cook the fish cakes in batches (using a fish spatula if possible) until the cakes are golden brown on both sides, and the fish cakes are cooked through and hot in the center, 3 to 4 minutes per side. The key to perfectly moist fish cakes is to not overcook them! It’s ok to leave them ever-so-slightly undercooked to retain that lovely moisture.

Transfer to a plate, cover, and keep warm in the pre-heated oven. Wipe the skillet clean and then cook the remaining cakes as above, using the remaining butter or 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.

Serve hot!

Wine Pairing: Any buttery Chardonnay! But make sure it’s chilled πŸ™‚