24 September 2009
Madras Fish Curry
Source: 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi
4-5 tilapia fillets (I cut each fillet into 2 large pieces)
1 cup fresh coconut
1 1/2" piece ginger
6 cloves of garlic
2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 onions, chopped
3 tsp poppy seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp tamarind pulp
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
1 tsp coriander pwdr
1/2 tsp turmeric pwdr
2 tsp chilli pwdr
3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds and 3/4 tsp cumin seeds, pounded together
Marinate the fish with turmeric and a little salt for 30 mins.
In a blender, put the grated coconut, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and poppy seeds. Do not add water (the tomatoes should have plenty of juice) and grind to form a smooth paste. I whirred mine 2-3x to make sure it was smooth.
Soak the tamarind ball with some hot water in a separate cup. Strain and set aside the juice.
In a shallow broad-based pan, heat the oil and when hot add mustard seeds. They wil start spluttering soon. At this time add the cut onions and fry until lightly colored. Add the curry leaves and this will let out a lovely aroma. When the onions have started browning, turn the heat down low and add turmeric, coriander and chilli pwdrs and stir. Let these cook for 1-2 mins while stirring, so as not to burn it.
Next, add the coconut mixture and saute for 3-4 mins. Add the tamarind water, salt to taste, and a further 2 cups of water (more if you desire a watery curry). Bring to a boil, and then slowly add the tilapia fillets. Turn the heat to low at this time. Sprinkle with a mixture of the fenugreek and cumin seeds. Cover and cook till fish is done; mine took about 15 minutes.
The dish tasted delicious accompanied by white rice. Also, if this curry is made 3-4 hours before eating, the flavors of the spices seep into the fish better. It tasted even better the next day!