Serving
(click to enlarge)

Fish with Tomato
India, North
  -   Machhi Tamatar
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
2 w/rice  
***
1 hr  
Most
A very fine tasting curry. Inclusion of cream marks this as a recipe for the well-to-do since dairy products are quite expensive in India. The nut paste functions as a thickener, common practice before cheap starches became available.



1-1/4
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2
3/4
1/2
1/2
2
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1
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4
5
1
1/2
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2
ar
2
1
1/3
1/4
1/3
#
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cl
in
t
t
T
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#
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t
t
---
cl

T
t
c
c
t
Fish (1)
-- Marinade
Garlic
Ginger
Salt
Chili powder (2)  
Lemon Juice
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Tomatoes
-- Nut Paste
Cashews, raw (3)
Almonds, raw (3)
Coconut, grated
Chili powder (2)
-------
Garlic
Oil to fry fish
Oil
Garam Masala
Cream
Water
Salt
PREP   (30 min)
  1. Cut FISH into convenient pieces.
  2. Crush GARLIC, slice and chop fine. Slice GINGER very thin and chop fine. Pound them to paste in a mortar. Mix All Marinade items, then stir in Fish until well coated. Marinade for at least 1/2 hour, turning once or twice.
  3. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and chop very fine.
  4. Lightly dry roast the CASHEWS and/or ALMONDS until golden (in spots). Cool thoroughly and pound to a paste in a mortar along with Coconut and Chili Powder (or use a mini-prep processor).
  5. Chop GARLIC fine.
RUN   (30 min)
  1. Drain the Fish well and dab with paper towels.
  2. In a kadhai or well seasoned iron skillet heat sufficient Oil for frying (see Note-4). Fry Fish until lightly browned on both sides . Drain well and set aside.
  3. In a sauté pan, heat 2 T Oil. Stir in Garlic and fry stirring until light golden. Stir in Tomatoes and fry stirring over moderate heat until almost all moisture is gone and oil starts to separate.
  4. Stir in the Nut Paste and fry stirring for 3 minutes. Stir in Garam Masala, Salt, Fish and Cream. Adjust liquid as needed (I usually make it a bit more liquid than shown in the photo for serving with rice) and Simmer about 5 minutes, turning gently once or twice.
  5. Serve hot with plenty of steamed Basmati rice.
NOTES:
  1. Fish   Use a fairly firm fish that won't come apart during frying. The original recipe calls for sole but I find swai (Vietnamese catfish) works fine and is economical. Tilapia is more delicate but also works well.
  2. Chili Powder   Kashmir is good if you want the sauce mild, Reshampatti if you want it a little sharper (I use Reshampatti). See our Chili Page for details.
  3. Cashews / Almonds:   One or the other can be used if you don't have both.
  4. Frying Fish:   This step is included for many Indian fish curries. It does makes the recipe more difficult and messy, but it also changes the flavor and texture significantly. Deep frying in a kadhai (India wok) as it would be done in India is easiest, but not so suited to our kitchens. Frying in 1/8 inch of oil in a well seasoned iron skillet will work for fish that holds together well. I've found a light dusting of rice flour after draining and drying the fish is a great help for frying in shallow oil. The fish holds together better and browns nicely. The rice flour does thicken the curry some, so it needs more liquid and there will be more sauce, but I don't see that as a problem.
  5. 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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