Passover, Indian Style

Tomato Lonsa roasted salmon. Photo by Keri White

Whether you opt for a non-traditional seder with this menu or go the traditional route on a few nights with various groups of friends and family, then roll out this menu as a Passover-friendly meal on a non-seder night is entirely your call.

This meal is tasty, healthy and offers some variety from the usual, though delicious, Passover fare.

Salmon is always a good place to start — the fish is kosher, relatively affordable and generally liked. Coating it in a flavorful sauce or relish and wrapping it in parchment is also sound; the fish is robust enough to handle strong flavors, and the technique prevents the fish from drying out. Pairing it with collard greens, which are hearty and healthy, is also a power move — and these greens hold up to the strong Indian spices.

Accompanying the meal with some simply roasted white or sweet potatoes delivers a welcome contrast from the robustly flavored fish and greens and, outside of Passover, rice is a wonderful side to serve with this menu.

The sauce I used was called “Aaji’s Tomato Lonsa” and is a South Indian sauce made with fresh tomatoes. I found it at my farmers market, and it is a stronger cook than I who could have resisted the merchant who was offering free samples and touting the recipe from his beloved “auntie.” Here’s the scoop from Aaji himself:

If you can’t get the sauce from Aaji, any jarred tomato-based Indian chutney or sauce is usable, or you can simply make your own by sautéing a small chopped onion in a bit of oil with a tablespoon of grated ginger, a half teaspoon of cumin and salt, some chili pepper and a large chopped tomato and dumping this over the fish.

Tomato Lonsa Roasted Salmon
Serves 4

4 salmon fillets
½ lemon
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
½ cup Tomato Lonsa or your favorite tomato chutney or sauce

Heat your oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a baking dish with a piece of parchment large enough to fold over on itself. Place the salmon pieces in the baking dish on the parchment and sprinkle them with lemon, salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over each piece to coat.

Fold the parchment over the top of the fish, sealing it but leaving space above each piece — you don’t want the paper lying directly on the fish. Bake the fish for about 25 minutes until it reaches its desired doneness.

Curry-spiced Collard Greens
Serves 4

You can do this with kale, mustard greens or turnip greens using the same technique. If you prefer bok choy or spinach, reduce the cooking time.

1 large bunch collard greens, tough stems trimmed
1-inch piece ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
Water or broth as needed

Rinse the collard greens well, and remove the tough stems. Taking 2 or 3 leaves at a time, roll them up (like a cigar) and slice them into thin ribbons.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the ginger, garlic and spices over medium until fragrant, a few minutes. Add the collard greens and stir to coat them, then continue turning them over. Add a few tablespoons of broth or water if needed to avoid burning.

Cover the greens and cook them for about 10 minutes, watching carefully so the greens don’t scorch.


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