Everyone has their go-to cookbooks for recipes you’re sure will turn out good. Mine are my Anjum Anand books, first introduced to me right before I got married by one of my closest friends. In a pre-wedding, walking-sack-of-nerves moment, I confessed to her that I can’t cook Asian food to save my life! Without hesitation, she pulled out her “Indian Every Day,” wrote me a msg inside and handed it to me. She may not know it till she reads this post, but I’ve read that msg many times in my kitchen, alone, daunted by the task of cooking the meal ahead and felt less worried!
So today was one of those days when I was totally out of ideas for dinner. I had some fish in my freezer, and literally flicked through this book, stopping at the first fish recipe I saw!
If you don’t like coconut, don’t be put off by what may seem like a LOT of coconut milk powder in the recipe. The taste is SO subtle. Also, don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. If you cook Indian/Pakistani food a lot, you’ll have everything in your spice cupboard already! And gathering the ingredients is the only relatively long part in preparing this. Once you get cooking, it takes only 20-30 mins altogether.
My recipe has been adapted slightly from the original version.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, finely sliced
2 large tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 green chilli, left whole with a small slit down the middle
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste (I used approx. 2 tsp)
5 tbsp coconut milk powder
150 ml hot water
Approx. 1 kg white, boneless fish
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
3 large garlic cloves
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
3 tsp corriander powder
2-3 whole red chillies (or less if you prefer milder curries)
100ml (1/2 cup) water
Start off by making the paste. Just put all the ingredients (except the water) in a blender and blend. Then add the water a bit at a time. The final consistency should be very fine and fluffy. Set aside.
Cut your fish into reasonably large chunks and set aside.
Next, heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion for a minute. Then add the tomatoes, ginger paste, chilli, paprika, turmeric and salt.
Fry for a couple minutes, then add the paste. Cover and cook over a low-ish heat for about 10 mins.
Next, stir the coconut milk powder into the hot water. Mix well, take a sniff, restrain from drinking it because it smells so good!
Add the coconut milk to the pan and bring to boil. Then let it simmer uncovered for a few minutes. Then add your fish. Make sure you mix it gently, stirring to coat. The fish cooks quite quickly so you don’t want to break it by mixing too roughly.
My fish took about 8 minutes too cook all the way through. However, my pieces were quite thin. So depending on what fish you’ve used, it might take a couple of minutes more. Just keep an eye on it from 5 minutes onwards.
When its ready, the gravy should be creamy in texture. Take it out into a dish. I served this roti (flatbread) but white rice would be even better!