Thursday, 9 April 2009

Fish curry

I love fish, it keeps the doctor happy and it goes with anything. It makes a really good and quick curry.

This recipe is perfect with a freezer, make a pan of the sauce, divide and freeze. When you want to make the curry buy fresh fish and just defrost a portion of sauce. Once the sauce is hot the fish cooks in 10 minutes.


Onion finely chopped
Garlic crushed
Ginger peeled and finely chopped
Green chillies (ideally 'finger' chillies) finely chopped
Spices (see below)
Lemon juice

Fish - a firm white fish filleted skinned and boned. I think haddock is ideal for this but cod, coley etc can be used instead.

To make the sauce:

This will make about 4 portions of sauce

Heat a little sunflower oil in a pan, add 1 tsp fennel seeds, 2 tsp cumin seeds (you can lightly crush these but I prefer to leave them whole
Fry 1 finely-chopped medium onion until lightly brown
Add chopped garlic and fry for a further minute
Add chillies and garlic (you can 'blitz' the garlic, chillies and ginger together in food processor or mouli grater to a smooth paste and add it all together)

Remove most of the onion etc mix from the pan and set to one side.

Add a little more oil (1 tablespoon or so) and allow to heat
1 tsp of yellow mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds
2 tsp turmeric
I tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon coriander
1 tsp red chilli (cayenne)
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Gently fry the spices in the oil until they are all coated with oil.

Add the juice of half a lemon and allow to absorb

Add a little tap water and continue to fry (I have a pint glass of water to hand and add a little at a time to a total of about 1/4 pint). Continue to fry, adding a little water at a time, until the oil starts to leave the spices.

Return the onions etc to the pan and mix, cook over a low heat adding a little more water* for 20-30 minutes or so until the sauce is thickened.


This sauce is infinitely variable.

Option 1 add more red chilli at the spice/oil stage and chopped tomatoes / tomato puree at the * stage for a redder, hotter sauce.
Option 2 add creamed coconut at the thickening stage for a milder, thicker sauce
Option 3 add methi (an Indian dried herb) at the thickening stage for an earthy, herby flavour
Option 4 for a deeper more robust flavour allow the onions to deeply brown (ie just short of burning) before you add the garlic etc

Once the sauce is thickened and the flavour has developed it's ready for use. You can either use it straight away or freeze it in portion sizes for later use.

(Sauce made with chopped tomatoes, I upped the quantities - 3 small onions etc - and used two tins of tomatoes to make 6 portions - 3 for the freezer and 3 to use straight-away)

Cooking the fish.

Fish cooks quickly and is ruined by over-cooking, curry takes time for the spices to cook-in and the sauce to thicken so it's essential this curry is cooked in two stages

Take your fillets. Cut in half to make 'squares' - this is simply for ease of handling / to fit your pan. Check for obvious bones.

Using a shallow pan (a frying pan is ideal) re-heat the sauce until it's hot. Push the sauce to one side so you have a clear area of pan surface. Place your fish directly on the surface of the pan and spoon the hot sauce over the fish until the top is completely covered. If you have a lid to the pan cover the pan.

Cook for 5-7 minutes over a low heat until the fish is opaque all the way through. Don't turn the fish, it'll break up.

(3 portions of sauce, 3 pieces of fish - Haddock - cooking away. 1 to be eaten now, 2 to go in the dehydrator. Some freshly chopped coriander (home-grown!) has been added at the same time as the fish)

Remove the fish with spatula, spoon and spare sauce over the top and serve with rice and vegetable side dishes.

(Finished dish served with chilli pickle and a beer!)

If you're dehydrating this dish allow it to cool and gently separate the flakes of fish. Dehydrate in the normal way and note the lost weight so you know how much water is needed to rehydrate.

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