Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “coconut milk”

Fish in Lemongrass and Coconut Curry

I love flicking through anything recipe related. Magazines, websites, books, you
name it and I do it when I’m not planning my next travel adventures. To be fair, I
do think of what local speciality I can try when I decide on where to go next. So,
travel is combined with food and vice versa.
But I digress. I’m currently taking a break from travel and staying in Delhi.
Winter is slowly setting in and all one wants is soul food. Something warm that
leaves you fuzzy but at the same time not hasslesome. Cleaning up can be such a
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m on this South East Asian flavours spree. I’ve been
reading a lot on flavour combinations and what better to try out new things than
experiment, right?
I came up with this recipe on a whim and though it requires a longish list of
ingredients, believe you me, it’s simple and makes for a wholesome supper.
PS: I recently came across Jamie Oliver‘s Cauliflower Rice recipe and it’s
marvelous. It’s healthy, tasty and serves as a no-carb alternative to rice. It can
be consumed with curries and kebabs or just as it is with a smattering of herbs
and some butter!

Fish Curry
For Marinade
500g Rohu (type of Carp, cut into pieces)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp garam masala powder

For Curry
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 inch ginger (chopped)
1 tomato (quartered)
1 can coconut milk
1 lemongrass (stalk bruised)
2 tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tbs vegetable oil

Cauliflower Rice
1 head cauliflower (blitzed in food processor)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
Pinch of red chilly flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oil

– Marinate the fish with all the powders. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
– Heat a wok and add the oil.
– Add the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Saute till fragrant.
– Add the lemon juice and wait for the hot wok to sizzle.
– Empty a can of coconut milk into the wok with a pinch of salt and add the quartered tomato
– Bring the liquid to a boil and put on gentle simmer.
– Add the fish to the coconut curry and clamp a lid on the wok for 15 minutes.
– Discard the lemongrass when curry made.
– For rice, heat the oil in a pan.
– Add the garlic and chilly flakes
– When fragrant, add the cauliflower and cook through. Add seasoning
– Serve a helping of the rice with a side of fish and some curry!

Delicious and healthy supper!

Delicious and healthy supper!

The Kerala connection

Think of Kerala and vivid images come to mind. When a state advertises it self as ‘God’s own country’, you know they have something different to offer. The idyllic backwaters, the green coconuts, Ayurvedic massages… it gives you a feeling that you’re transported far away from modern spaces. And the food. Oh the glorious food. Meat, fish, seafood prepared with delicious coconut oil and tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds. Sour from the tamarind paste and velvety from fresh coconut milk, Kerala cuisine has such fantastic variety that one can never get bored.

Personally, Kerala is still the only state in Southern India I’m yet to travel to. I seriously don’t understand how I’ve managed not to for so long. But I’ve tasted authentic food from the region from childhood days. And the taste has lingered for so many years. Majority of the population believe South Indian cuisine consists of Dosas, Idlis and Vadas along with Sambar. They couldn’t be more wrong. Different in dialect, the philosophy spills over to food. The spice base, taste, ingredients, style of cooking change from region to region.

A close friend’s mother cooks a fantastic beef fry. It’s so spicy, rich in oil and so delicious that the only accompaniment you need is fluffy white rice. In Delhi if you’re searching for a good meal from the southern state, look no further than the Kerala Staff Canteen near Jantar Mantar (I had mentioned this place in an earlier post ‘Affordable Eating in Delhi.’)

Buying beef in Delhi becomes difficult because you get buff. Buying fish is far easier. If you keep the basic ingredients at home like coconut milk, tamarind, mustard seeds and curry leaves, a quick and easy lunch/dinner option becomes a Kerala style fish curry. I make this dish quite often for friends and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients (For 2)

500g fish fillets. (I use Basa but for the best curry use King fish or Neymeen)
250ml coconut milk
100ml tamarind paste (Made by soaking tamarind in hot water)
2 small onions
2 inches of ginger
4 garlic cloves
2 green chillies
Handful of curry leaves (I always have dried leaves in stock)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Half teaspoon red chilly powder (Add more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 small tomatoes
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (Use coconut oil if available)

The process

In a non-stick utensil heat the oil. At the same time blitz together the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Once the oil is heated through, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the seeds begin to sputter, add the blitzed vegetables and brown.
In a small bowl make a thick spice paste with the turmeric, red chilly powder and a bit of water. Add the paste to the browned vegetables. Once the spice paste is cooked through, add the coconut milk and tamarind paste. (If you want the curry to be very watery, add about the same amount of water to the coconut milk). Dice the tomatoes and add at this point. Put in the fish which I dice to make it bite sized, bring the curry to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Add salt as per taste.

Some prefer to marinate the fish in salt and turmeric and then pan fry it before adding to the curry. I don’t like it personally because I prefer the melt in the mouth reaction.

With rice, curd and some prawn pickles as accompaniments, this fish curry will hit the sweet spot on a lazy summer afternoon.


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