Travel always opens you up to so many new experiences and during my time spent in India I developed a new appreciation for the way spices are used. Magic can be created with simple ingredients to produce amazing flavors.
In true tradition my Bengali curry features lightly spiced tender chunks of marinated, pan fried fish complimented by a warming, lightly spiced yogurt curry thanks to mustard seeds - an essential part of this wonderful dish. I have added a few small touches of my own to this recipe and the result is a great mixture of flavors and textures and a rather healthy curry as well. When I think back to all the years I spent thinking I hated fish I really want to kick myself. Better late than never though!
If you prefer a slightly thinner curry for eating with rice like I do, then mix ½ a chicken stock cube with 1 cup hot water and pour into the yogurt curry little by little until you get the desired consistency (you may not need all of it to get the consistency you want) and then gently add the cooked fish and garnish with fresh coriander and serve.
You can try different types of fish and see what your favorite is with this dish, however I recommend mild flavored fish for this recipe.
This recipe can be easily adapted for vegetarians by leaving out the fish and using a vegetable stock cube because the curry is very flavorsome just on it's own and tastes great with the same accompaniments mentioned under bullet point 13 in the method instructions below.
YOU WILL NEED
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of lime juice
500g | 1lb fish fillets of any mild white fish cut into 2 inch apart pieces (I like halibut)
3 tablespoons olive/vegetable oil/mustard oil
½ -1 tablespoon black mustard seeds (I like the full amount but some people find it bitter)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
1 rounded tablespoon good quality curry powder
Salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1+1/4 cup pouring cream (not heavy cream)
1 cup plain yogurt (I use low-fat)
1 tablespoon plain flour (if you want a thicker gravy)
1/2 tablespoon lime juice (optional only add if needed)
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander/cilantro for garnish
Oil for frying fish (or you can also use mustard oil for a different flavor)
In a medium sized bowl mix together the turmeric, black pepper, chilli powder, salt and lime juice.
Add the chopped fish pieces and use your hands to coat the fish thoroughly with the spice mix. Cover and set aside in fridge for about 30 minutes (up to an hour is also fine).
In a medium sized cooking pot, heat three tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring until they “pop” and are fragrant, this takes about a couple of minutes.
Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry until the onions are translucent and have softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the curry powder, salt, and ground cumin and cook for another 2 minutes, mixing regularly.
Mix the yogurt with the flour and add to the pot.
Add the cream and allow to simmer on a low heat for 2-3 minutes more.
Add the lime, taste and if you need more salt, spice or lime, add now. Turn off and cover until needed.
In a non-stick pan, add enough oil to properly coat the base of the pan evenly and heat over a medium-high flame.
Fry the fish until golden brown on both sides and no longer transparent. Be gentle when turning to avoid breaking your fish. Set aside on a plate. (If using absorbent paper to soak up oil make sure it is high quality so it doesn’t stick to the fish, if unsure avoid the paper altogether).
Reheat the curry if needed and pour into a serving dish. Gently place the fish into the curry and garnish with fresh coriander.
Serve with your choice of naan, rotis, rice, katchumber (onion salad), poppadoms and salad if desired.