Crispy, grilled chokka with zesty mint and parsley rice

 

So let’s face it. Times are tough and pennies are few. That’s no secret. But I’m not about to let that get between me and a tasty meal! Both in budget and in environmental matters, reducing meat consumption (particularly beef) has been a pretty big goal for me, using smaller portions more for flavour in a pot once in a while rather than as the ‘main event’ of a dish (as we’re often want to do). I have to say though, I’m a self-confessed seafood addict and love absolutely anything that tastes of the ocean!  This dish is something of a guilty compromise for me when the craving beckons…

Serves 4 with a side of salad greens

400g chokka heads

1 cup rice

2 handfuls of parsley

1 handful of mint

1 punnet of courgettes

4 cloves of garlic

2 lemons

1 sachet Robertson spice for rice

drizzle of olive oil

block of feta cheese (optional if you’re lactose intolerant)

200ml dry white wine

I like to chop off the main ‘head’ part of the chokka and set aside in a container in the freezer for the stock I make on cold winter nights when I’m struck with a lust for Tom Yum Goong. Then the remaining tentacles go into a lidded oven dish with the zest and juice of 1 lemon and the dry white wine. Next, I chop up 1 handful of the parsley and 2 cloves of garlic and add that to the mix. Then I pop the dish into the oven to slowly ‘poach’ at 150C for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I finely chop the rest of the parsley and mint and place in a bowl, then zest the remaining lemon and add the zest to the herb mixture, along with the juice of the lemon. Next, I crumble the feta into the bowl and combine the ingredients with a drizzling of olive oil. This is set aside for later.

Then it’s onto the rice. Once the chokka has had its 20 minutes in the oven, I use 1 cup of the residual liquid together with 1 cup of water and the sachet of Robertson’s spice for rice, and bring the rice to the boil on a medium-low heat, depending on your stove top. While this is underway, I heat up my griddle pan with a little bit of butter or cooking oil, ready to give the chokka a good grilling, getting it nice and crispy. In a separate pan, on a medium-high heat, I fry up my slices of courgette, adding the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic once the courgette has browned nicely and I’ve reduced the heat.

Once all is said and done, it’s a simple matter of combining all the elements into one sumptuous rice dish, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

 

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