I was raised a vegetarian. My father occasionally eats poultry and seafood but my mother is a strict vegetarian. Growing up meat dishes were never a part of our household meals. However when I left for college to a state halfway across India, my diet suddenly suffered due to the hostel (dorms, as they are called here) food. In our hostel vegetarian meal was included in the standard meal-plan while you had to pay a hefty extra amount to get non-vegetarian food served three times a week. Needless to say, extra costly non-vegetarian food was much nutritious and wholesome than the standard meal-plan included veg food (note that vegetarian food can be in-general completely nutritious; but the way it used to be prepared at our hostel made it especially unappetizing and thereby non-nourishing as we would mostly skip the meal and snack on chips to satisfy our hunger). Due to the heavy school-work and the unbalanced dorm diet, over the years I lost some weight and my health started to suffer. I still remember the day when the college doctor finally wrote me an Rx prescription which said 'eat non-veg food' :-) I suppose he was a bit too well aware of the state of default meal plan in school!
Anyway, with some encouragement from my dad I did follow the doctor's advise and signed up for the extra meal-plan and thats how I started eating non-veg :) Funny story but its true! Over the years I have come to love my chicken biryanis, tikka masalas and prawn currys. Now-a-days I mostly eat healthy and wholesome vegetarian food but once in a while do prepare a chicken or a seafood dish. One thing I love to date the most though is the fish curry! I don't really have a fish curry recipe. I either pan-fry the fish fillets and add them to the curry sauce or simmer the fish cubes in the sauce. Sometimes I add frozen coconut while at other times its just a simple tomato based sauce.
Everyone in India knows that when it comes to fish currys no-one can beat the Goan and the Bengali currys! So when I saw this fish curry recipe from Sayantani I instantly book-marked it. Today finally I got around to trying this curry and it turned out wonderful! I adapted some of the spices with what I had at hand and chose salmon as the main fish.
Recipe: Serves 4
Source: adapted from A Homemaker's Dairy
2 medium size salmon fillets
2 small green chilis
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1in piece of ginger
2 ripe tomatoes
2 small boiling potatoes
1Tbsp canola/vegetable oil
1/2tsp nigella seeds
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1/4tsp garam masala
1/4tsp chaat masala (optional)
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1/2tsp cumin powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp mild chili powder
1/2Tbsp paprika (for color)
- Remove the skin from the salmon fillets and cut them into large cubes (about 10 cubes). Sprinkle juice of half lemon, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and salt. Set aside to marinade.
- Meanwhile, coarsely chop onion, ginger and garlic and puree them in a food processor to make an onion paste. Chop the chilis and tomatoes finely. Slice the potatoes into thin round slices.
- Heat oil in a large bottomed pan. When hot, temper with nigella seeds and mustard seeds.
- Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add chilis and onion-ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a few minutes until the raw onion smell disappears.
- Add the potatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
- Next add all the dried spices and toast for a minute or two until aromatic.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to fall apart (about 5mins)
- Add 2C water little by little and let the mixture come to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and add beaten yogurt and mix well.
- Add the fish pieces, enough salt and cook covered for 10-15mins until the fish is cooked through (salmon will turn pale white and will flake easily when poked with a fork).
- Remove from heat and serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice and hot rice.
This recipe works best with a thick flesh fish - salmon, cod, halibut would all work well. Boneless, skinless fish would be ideal. When adding yogurt make sure that the heat is barely to simmer so the yogurt does not curdle.