Dad’s fish curry

Dad’s fish curry

By
From
I Love India
Serves
4
Photographer
Martin Poole

One of the only times I saw my father by the stove was when he was telling my mother how to cook this dish, a fish curry he has been eating his whole life. He has so many great stories from his childhood, but one of his favourites is of fishing with his brothers in the river near his home in Punjab and bringing back the spoils. This was the curry they would make with the fish and it was the only one he was particular about my mother cooking his way. It is easy and tasty and perfect with Simple, Perfect Rice.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the spice blend

Quantity Ingredient
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon black peppercorns
11/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oriander seeds
or ground coriander

For the curry

Quantity Ingredient
3 large tomatoes, quartered
15 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 dried chillies
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
salt
600g firm white fish, cut into steaks (Dad’s favourite is rohu, or sea bream)
3 indian green finger chillies, stalked removed, pierced with a knife
2 handfuls coriander stalks and leaves, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Grind together the cumin, peppercorns, mustard and coriander seeds until fine.
  2. Blend together the tomatoes and garlic until smooth, add the spice blend, chilli powder and turmeric and blend once again.
  3. Heat 2½ tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick karahi, wok or saucepan. Add the dried chillies and the fenugreek and mustard seeds. Once the popping starts to die down, add the blended tomatoes and some salt. Cook over a high-ish flame, stirring often, until the paste releases oil, 10–12 minutes.
  4. Move the paste to the side of the pan, or remove it entirely, and add the remaining oil. Add the fish and fry for 1–2 minutes on each side. Then add enough water to cover the fish, the green chillies and coriander and bring to the boil. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits, because the fish absorbs the liquid. In the end it should be only a little creamy but not thick.
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