Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fish in Coconut and Coriander Curry

I first encountered coconut milk in the little house I shared with Kurush in Pune. That was where I first started exploring food and cooking and thanks to him I discovered and learned about a whole world of cuisines, ingredients, preparations and flavours. Coconut milk was among them and is probably one of my favourite new flavours and ingredients. I used it in every possible dish from beef curries to paneer, vegetables to chicken gravies. I loved it and went a little crazy with it. One of the most memorable concoctions from those days is this light and flavourful fish curry that is loaded with fresh coriander along with the coconut milk.

Fish in Coconut and Coriander Curry

6 to 8 pieces bhetki, I used boneless fillets
1 small onion, sliced fine
1 small tomato, diced
20 stalks of fresh coriander
3 -4 fresh green chillies
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
1 star anise
2 or 3 cloves
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
3 heaped tbsp coconut powder dissolved in a cup of water
mustard oil

Wash the fish pieces well and rub with turmeric and salt. Heat oil in a wok and fry the fish lightly for a minute or so. Remove to a plate and keep aside.

In the same wok add a little more oil and fry the whole garam masalas for a minute. Add the green chillies and curry leaves, followed by the finely sliced onions. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and the dry powdered spices along with some turmeric at this stage. Stir continuously and fry for a couple of minutes till the onions turn colour slightly. Add the diced tomatoes.

Wash the fresh coriander stalks and chop up the stems and leaves, reserving a few leaves for sprinkling on top after cooking. Add the chopped coriander to the wok and stir to mix well. Mash up the tomatoes as much as you can. Add salt. Cover the wok and let the masala cook for few minutes so the tomatoes get soft.

Now pour in the coconut milk and bring it all to a boil. Add more water if you feel you won't have enough gravy. Slide in the fish pieces and let it all cook for a couple of minutes. Remove to a flat serving dish and garnish with the reserved coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice.

You can make this curry with any fish you like.

This is a light fish curry that I make often in the hot summer months. The thin coconut milk keeps it light as compared with the heavier curries that use ground coconut, and the coriander leaves and stems impart a lovely freshness to the dish. It's not heavy on the spices and neither does one need any accompaniments with it. Just a mound of hot rice and this flavourful broth-like curry is enough.

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