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South Indian Fish Curry

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South Indian Fish Curry We were in the city on a Monday for lunch and as usual even after a delicious meal- I was thinking about what to cook for dinner. I asked my husband for ideas and he suggested some thing South Indian. I reminded him Mondays are my busy day since our daughter has some activities after school and we don’t get home until about 6 PM. I don’t get a lot of time to cook and my daughter is super hungry when we get home. So, I need to prepare something in the afternoon and put it together quickly once we get home.

I ended up making a South Indian style fish curry- I happened to have cod in the freezer which I took out as soon as I got home. I processed shallots and ginger together. I roasted cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds and ground them up. The spice mixture holds the key to this curry- it gives it great flavor.

I marinated the fish with some shredded coconut, tamarind concentrate, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt. Remember to keep the fish in the fridge and only marinate for an hour. The rest was easy- I started with sauteing the shallots and curry leaves and then added the spice mix. I then added the coconut milk and fish stock.

The curry was delicious, especially with the Indian style polenta- yes, you read it correctly.. recipe to follow tomorrow…

  • 1 pound white fish (cod, tilapia, etc), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix the coconut, tamarind, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Add the fish and mix with your fingers. Marinate for an hour in the fridge.

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ fenugreek seeds

Roast the seeds in a frying pan for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat or till the seeds become aromatic. Grind in a spice grinder and keep aside.

  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, chopped

Process the shallots and ginger in a food processor and keep aside.

  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt
  • 2 cups light coconut milk
  • 1 cup seafood or chicken broth
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the curry leaves for a minute and add the shallot mixture. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spice mixture and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a minute. Add the coconut milk and the broth. Bring to a boil and add the fish. Cook the fish for a minute and take out of the sauce. Bring the sauce back to a boil and simmer for ten minutes. Taste for seasonings and add salt. Turn the heat off and add the fish. Let sit for ten minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

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Sounds delicious and healthy!

Are curry leaves and tamarind concentrate easy to find? Could you substitute curry powder for the leaves?

How long did it take you to put dinner on the table, Monica? (I can then add a half-hour to that!)


Tamarind concentrate can be found in Whole Foods. Curry leaves are not the same as curry powder so you can’t substitute one for the other. I would eliminate them in case you can’t get an Indian grocery store. As far as time is concerned- not counting the time I marinated the fish- the curry took all of half an hour- it was really quick. Wait till you see the quick polenta tomorrow!!! enjoy!

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