Does it seem like I am posting too many fish curry recipes recently? Well, it's true. We have been eating a different type of fish curry pretty much every Sunday for past few months. So it was only natural that the fish curry fever would seep into my blog too :)
Today's recipe is a traditional Goan fish curry recipe.
Goa is the smallest state in India situated very close to Maharashtra (my home state). It's an ocean-facing state so the local food is ocean sourced - seafood and coconut are very commonly found in many of the regional recipes. But what I find most unique about Goan food is it's Portugese influence coupled with Indian heritage.
Goa was ruled by Portugese for 400 some years starting late 1500s and like everywhere else in the world, a ruling of that length leaves significant traces behind in local people, food and culture. For example, use of vinegar in curry is something you will find very unique to Goa - a state where the "vindaloo" dish originated which makes quite the head-line at most Indian restaurants in US. This blend of cultures creeping into food is what interests me so much about this cuisine!
I love love love this goan fish curry recipe. Coconut and tamarind though may seem unlikely ingredients to be paired with fish, they do make a harmonious marriage. I have made this curry with pomfrey, tilapia and most recently with sea bass and all three fish types paired very well with this curry. If you can get your hands on fresh coconut, so much the better!! but in it's absence frozen coconut works fairly well.
2 large tilapia or sea-bass fillet
quarter of a large onion - finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic - minced
half an inch piece of ginger - grated
1 tomato - chopped
1Tbsp tamarind paste
1/4C fresh or frozen grated coconut
5 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
1tsp cumin powder
1 dried red chili (if using)
1tsp red wine vinegar
1/2tsp turmeric powder
3Tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
1/2tsp mustard seeds
salt & pepper
Add juice of half a lime, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and salt & pepper to fish fillet and rub well. Set aside for upto half an hour to marinate.
Prep all the veggies.
Roast the whole spices - peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cumin powder with red chili on low medium heat stirring constantly taking care the spices don't burn.
Blend ginger and garlic together with 1tsp water to create a fine paste. Add onions to the ginger and garlic paste and blend together to create onion-ginger-garlic paste; set aside.
Grind together coconut with roasted spices and 1tsp vinegar; set aside.
Blend the chopped tomatoes to make tomato paste.
In a large pan, heat oil. When hot add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add onion-ginger-garlic paste. Cook until all the raw aroma disappears (about 4-5mins).
Then add coconut and spice paste and continue cooking on low-medium heat for another few minutes.
Then add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Add tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring until oil start to separate like so:
Then add water slowly to create desired curry consistency. If in doubt, add little water initially and add more later as needed later.
Transfer fish fillet to the cooking pot. Add salt & pepper to taste and continue cooking uncovered for 10-15mins until the fish is fully cooked.
Remove from heat. Add tamarind paste and mix well. Serve with fresh rice and lime wedges.