I'm finally posting a recipe I learned by cooking with my mom. My mom is super cute – she was excited and slightly nervous that I was going to be documenting this. She kept insisting I jot down the health benefits of each of the herbs and spices that we used (which I didn't do because I'm doubtful any of you want to read a 5 page essay on fish curry). The time I made chicken curry solo, I took notes and had my chicken curry done in about 45 minutes. This fish curry on the other hand took mom and I an hour and a half; even though fish takes less time to cook in comparison to chicken (due to mom's cooking lectures I had to listen to). Don't worry, you'll be able to whip this up in about 1/2 hour.
- large white snapper - or red snapper
- turmeric powder - 1.5 teaspoons (1 for cleaning, 1/2 for cooking)
- salt - 2 tablespoons for cleaning, and 3 to 4 teaspoons for cooking
- onion - 1 whole diced
- 3 cloves garlic - with peel
- ginger - 1 tablespoon finely chopped
- fenugreek - 2 teaspoon
- curry leaves - 20
- green chilies - 2 small finely chopped
- dried red chilli - 1 whole
- tamarind - 2 tablespoons (from pulp or paste)
- can of whole tomatoes - 4 small tomatoes finely chopped & 5 tablespoons of sauce
- chilli powder - 2 teaspoons
- black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon (grinded)
- cumin - 1 teaspoon
- fresh shredded coconut - 4 tablespoon
Take your fish, get rid of all scales and clean it. Cut the fish into 1 to 1.5 inch steaks. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder along with 2 tablespoons of salt over the fish, then add some lime pieces, toss the fish and let sit for about 10 minutes before washing it all off. Mom claims this washes off all the preservatives and bacteria that are used by sellers to make international fishes last extra long.
Marinade the cleaned fish steaks by sprinkling 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste evenly over fish and let sit for 15 minutes.
Place a wok or pot on high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
Throw your ginger into the pot and after a minute add your onion, then add curry leaves (crush the curry leaves in your palms and rip them apart to release the fragrance), at this point also include the dried red chilli by breaking it in two pieces.
Once you’ve let your onions sweat, throw in 2 tablespoons of fenugreek and lower the heat to medium.
Add the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of chilli powder (adjust to your preference), ½ teaspoon turmeric, 3 teaspoons of salt (adjust according to the size of your fish). Keep stirring until you get a paste like consistency, then add 1 cup of water and 5 tablespoons of tomato sauce from the can until it starts boiling. Lower heat to low-medium, add your fish, toss gently for fish to get coated with the sauce, then cover the pot with a lid for 7 minutes. (Note*: after this point, you won’t be flipping or touching the fish, but you’ll be stirring the sauce part only - in order not to break the fish)
In a blender blend ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 4 tablespoons of shredded coconut and 1/3 cup hot water. Sift out the coconut shreds and pour the liquid into the curry and blend the sifted coconut with another 1/3 cup water. Squeeze the coconut shreds out by hand and pour in the second round of liquid into the curry as well (discard the shredded coconut at this point). Immediately, take 3 cloves of fresh garlic (with skin on), crush it with a pounder and throw it into the curry. After 5 minutes, throw in another 10 curry leaves (crush and rip by hand again) and immediately remove from stove.
It was definitely time well spent. I love my mom's delicious fish curry! Next time, I'll be able to re-create this all on my own. Mission accomplished.