Monday, April 21, 2014

Fish Curry Recipe

There are so many fish curry recipes that keep floating around that one can get boggled very easily. However, cooking fish curry, as I have belatedly realized, is a very simple process. You do not even need very complicated methods or novel ingredients not seen otherwise, and any one who can cook daal can cook this fish curry too. This is a spin-off from the traditional rural fish curries of East and North East. The closest that comes to it is Assam's Masor Tenga, and it is a particular reference from my side if you wish not to try this particular recipe and go for the original instead.

Ingredients:


4 medium sized fillets of fish
Oil - I don't buy mustard oil in Hong Kong, and use olive oil instead. But stick to mustard oil if you can do that - about 1.5 tbsp. Even ghee will work
3 targe tomatoes chopped/pureed. I prefer a bit of the peel to be present in the fish for a more rustic feel
1 medium onion chopped fine or pasted
2 tsp of Ginger and garlic paste or finely chopped, whatever possible
Cilantro/Coriander - handful chopped up
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
Turmeric - about 3/4 tsp
1/2 cup water

Process:

The essential ingredient, fish, is one tricky thing. I usually buy fillets here because they are cheap and easily available. However, try to buy any fresh fish you can. Freshwater fish has its advantages - the fishy smell is usually absent, and you can simply steam it too, so choose between carp, catfish (singhara) or whatever you can see. If you use seawater fish, try to stick to pomphret, tuna, threadfin or even Bombay Duck. However, in that case, soak the fish in brine (salt mixed in water) for about fifteen minutes before doing anything else.

Heat oil in a handi or a wok till smoking. Fry the fish and remove it from the wok and keep aside. The idea behind frying is that it would otherwise disintegrate if you are using fillets. Frying also seals the flavour of the fish as it is, and the oil gets released into the end when put back into the finished gravy. If you are using solid carp pieces, you may wish to avoid it - it is entirely your choice.

Once done with the fish, on the high flame, throw in the onion and ginger garlic pastes, and keep stirring the mix till the onions start to brown. That is when you know the onions are done, and the oil separates.

Next, throw in the tomatoes and cook them thoroughly till they become mushy. Stir occasionally and beat the tomatoes with a ladle into pulp if necessary. Cover the whole thing up for faster cooking.

One the tomatoes start drying out, put in your turmeric, red chilli powder and salt (keep the chilly powder on a slightly higher note; it will also make the dish look red, going in sync with the tomatoey flavour). Keep stirring so that the whole thing becomes a good paste.

Put in water so that a gravy is formed. Next, put in the fish and mix well. Put in the chopped cilantro
and let the whole thing stew for about fifteen minutes on low heat.



I prefer serving it with rice, though some adventurous people may want to try rotis with it. Either way, hopefully you guys will enjoy it

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