Spiced cod flatbreads with preserved lemon and avocado salsa, pul biber onions and harissa lime yoghurt
A vibrant dish of aromatic spiced cod with fragrant yoghurt and zesty salsa all wrapped up in a crisp, garlicky flatbread. The flavours going on here are insane. Zesty freshness from the lemony salsa, velvety cod in delicate spices, garlicky charred bread, zingy crunchy onions, creamy avocado, peppery heat, I could go on but I won’t hold you from the recipe any longer. This takes a bit of time to prepare as there are a few stages but it is in no way difficult and the result is so worth it!
You can use turmeric powder if you can’t find fresh turmeric root but it is quite readily available in most large supermarkets and gives a beautiful flavour, not to mention the health benefits.
Similarly, you can substitute paprika for the Aleppo pepper but if you can, try and source it as it has a mild fruitiness that is particularly tasty in this dish.
For the spiced cod:
2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
2 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g cod loin, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
For the flatbreads:
30g/1oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz plain flour
100ml/3½fl oz semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp garlic granules
1 tbsp olive oil
For the harissa and lime yoghurt:
280g Greek-style yoghurt
1 heaped tbsp rose harissa
1 lime, zest and juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salsa:
small handful dill, roughly chopped
4 preserved lemons, deseeded and very finely chopped
1 tbsp barberries (optional)
½ ripe avocado, finely diced
2 tsp nigella seeds
For the pul biber onions:
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 heaped tsp of pul biber/Aleppo pepper chilli flakes
To make the spiced cod, mix 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt with the turmeric and crushed garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and marinate the cod for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the flatbreads, melt the butter and combine with the remaining ingredients, except for the oil. Mix until a firm dough has formed. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
To make the salsa, mix the ingredients together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the pickled onions, combine all the ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Put the lid on and shake until the onions lose their rigidity. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the harissa and lime yoghurt, mix everything together, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Divide the dough into four and roll into thin rounds. Preheat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the hot pan with the oil and grill the flatbreads for about 45–60 seconds on each side until lightly browned.
To make the cod, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the cod and brown on all sides until just cooked through.
To serve, divide the cod between 4 flatbreads and dollop a generous amount of the yoghurt on top. Add the salsa, some onions and sprinkle over extra Aleppo chilli flakes or nigella seeds.
This isn’t really a recipe but is really lovely served as a fresh and vibrant side for any curry. It’s great slathered on poppadoms as a starter or a snack and provides a welcome break from the rich heaviness of many curries.
1 tomato, diced
½ red onion, diced
3 thick slices of cucumber, diced
Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
A few mint leaves, chopped
A pinch of cumin and chilli powder
A squeeze of lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste.
Tip: Season with salt when ready to serve as the salt will draw the moisture from the chopped veggies.
I have included a recipe for homemade corn tortillas using masa harina which is a bit tricky to come by in the UK but is available in some international grocers or online. The flavour from this very fine cornmeal is unrivalled by anything you can buy in the shop and is totally worth a little extra effort. You can of course use shop bought tortillas – corn or flour – if you prefer.
The vegetables in the salsa are grilled to char them before blending which gives a sweetness to the onions and garlic and a deep flavour to the tomatoes.
Then there is the guacamole with creamy avocado and fresh citrus flavours. Splodged on top of zesty, spicy, smoky pulled chicken, what more do you need?
For the corn tortillas:
(Makes 12-24 depending on how generous you are)
150g/5½oz masa harina
100ml/3½fl oz cold water
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough is achieved. (If it’s too sticky add a little more masa harina, or, if it’s too dry, add a drop more water.)
Divide the dough into 24 balls. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Flatten the balls of dough with your hands – alternatively, use a tortilla press or roll them between two layers of cling film. Flatten to approximately 3mm thick.
To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a flat griddle pan or frying pan and place over a hot heat.
Cook the tortillas for approximately one minute on each side, or until lightly coloured.
Cover in foil or with a damp towel until ready to serve.
For the spicy shredded chicken:
2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 limes, zest and juice only
6 chicken thighs, skin removed
For the roasted tomato salsa:
6 tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 fat red or green chillies
2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small bunch coriander
2 limes, juice only
salt and pepper
For the guacamole:
3 ripe avocados
3 tbsp soured cream
½ lime, zest and juice
½ lemon, zest and juice
salt and pepper
To serve (optional):
Monterey Jack or strong cheddar cheese, grated
spring onions, finely chopped
fresh coriander, finely chopped
Fresh green salad
Method for the fillings:
For the spicy shredded chicken, preheat the oven to 180C.
Add all the dry ingredients and the lime juice and zest to a bowl. Stir to combine.
Pat dry the chicken thighs using kitchen paper and then place the chicken thighs into the bowl and coat in the spice mix.
Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour. Remove the chicken from the bowl, place the coated thighs on a foil lined baking tray and cook for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
Meanwhile make the roasted tomato salsa. Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, red onion wedges, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray. Lightly brush with oil.
Place under the hot grill and cook until the tomato skins are blackened, approximately 10 minutes.
Place all the charred ingredients into a food processor with the chipotle paste, coriander and lime juice. Pulse until a chunky consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the guacamole, cut the avocados in half and remove the stone. Remove the flesh from the skin and roughly chop.
Place in a bowl and lightly crush using a fork. Add the soured cream, lemon and lime juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the spicy shredded chicken, once the chicken is cooked set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred.
To serve, simply place a dollop of whichever fillings you desire (I recommend a bit of everything… yolo) into your corn tortilla and apply to face!