Serving
(click to enlarge)

Fish & Mixed Vegetable Curry
India - Bengal
 
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
Do ahead:  
4 main  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes

Fish curries are very popular in eastern India. This one is from West Bengal on the northeast coast. See also Fish & Potato Curry for a version from farther south, and Note-7 on method. Reheating may degrade the texture a little, but the flavor will be even better.





14
1
1/2
12
10
8
------
9
1
------
1
1
1
1
1
------
4
4
1/2
1
1/2
------
oz
t
t
oz
oz
oz
---
oz
in
---
t
t
T
t
t
---
t
T
t
c
t
---
Fish (1)
Turmeric
Salt
Potatoes (2)
Cauliflower
Eggplant (3)
-- Aromatics
Onion
Ginger root
-- Spices
Cumin seed
Mustard seed
Coriander seed
Chili powder (4)  
Turmeric
----------
Chili, green (5)
Oil (6, 7)
Nigella seed
Water
Salt
-- Garnish
Cilantro
Prep
  1. Cut FISH into pieces, about 2-1/2 by 1-1/2 inches. Use rather large pieces if you use carp (see Note-1). IF you will be frying the fish (see Note-7) rub with Turmeric and Salt. Set Aside.
  2. Peel POTATOES and cut into 3/4 inch cubes. Hold in cold water until needed.
  3. Break CAULIFLOWER into small florettes.
  4. Cut EGGPLANT into 1 inch cubes, Hold in water acidulated with a little citric acid or lemon juice until needed.
  5. Peel ONION and chop small. Slice GINGER very thin and chop fine. Mix and pound to a paste in a large mortar (or use a mini-prep processor).
  6. Grind Cumin, Mustard Seed and Coriander Seed in a spice grinder. Mix all Spices items and blend into Aromatics mix.
  7. Split CHILIS lengthwise from just under the caps to the tips. Remove seed and veins only to the extent you want to control hotness.
  8. Chop CILANTRO for garnish.
Run   (45 min)
  1. Option, see Note-7 - heat 4 T Oil in a well seasoned iron skillet and fry fish over moderate heat turning once until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  2. Measure 2 Tablespoons of the Oil into a coverable sauté pan and heat over moderate flame. Fry Nigella Seeds for about 15 seconds, then stir in Aromatics mix. Fry stirring for a few minutes, then stir in Potatoes and 1 c Water. Cover and simmer until potatoes are nearly done, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in Cauliflower, Eggplant, Green Chilis and Salt (and a little water if it's too dry). Simmer, stirring a couple of times, for about 8 minutes until cauliflower is just crisp tender.
  4. Adjust liquid if needed and taste for Salt. Stir in Fish and simmer covered just long enough for it to be hot (or just long enough to be cooked through if you didn't fry it).
  5. Garnish with chopped Cilantro amd serve with plenty of steamed Basmati rice.
NOTES:
  1. Fish:   This needs to be a fish that holds together well with wet cooking. Catfish (American or Vietnamese Swai, Basa, Tra) or Talapia work well. If you use Carp make the pieces at least 2-1/2 inches long so the spines can be dealt with.
  2. Potatoes:   Medium potatoes like White Rose work well here. For details see our Potatoes page.
  3. Eggplant:   Use goose egg size Indian eggplants if you can (but not white ones - they have tough skins). Otherwise any long narrow variety. In either case, split in half and then into pieces about 1 inch long, skin on. If all you have is big purple globes, peel with a vegetable peeler and cube about 1 inch on a side.
  4. Chili Powder:   Reshampatti is good here, or Korean if you don't have that. For details see our Chili Page.
  5. Chilis, Green:   Two Serrano split from under the cap to the tip add just enough hotness to be noticed. Feel free to use more if you like, less, or even none.
  6. Oil:   Technically this should be Mustard Oil, which needs to be brought up to the smoke point for a couple seconds, then cooled a bit before proceeding. This removes the pungency. Pure Olive Oil (not Virgin) works fine too, and there's no need to heat it to smoking. For details see our Mustard Oil page.
  7. Method:   Indian recipes of this sort very often have you dust the fish and sometimes the potatoes lightly with a little salt and turmeric, then fry them separately until light golden. This step provides a unique flavor but also adds complexity. It can be skipped without ruining the dish, but the flavor will be noticeably less complex.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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