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Indian Fish Curry

We love this dish at our house. With its warm Indian spices, it has a complexity and depth of flavor, without being “spicy”. It’s not hot, but warm. Think: comfort. It has a fragrant bouquet, and it’s colorful, cheery and just plain pretty!  The fish takes very little time to cook, but the sauce, close to an hour total in order to fully develop the flavors. It has more than 5 ingredients to be sure, but it really doesn’t take long or much effort to make, and people smack their lips over this one so it’s so worth it!

Indian Fish Curry

(makes 6 to 8 servings)

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small, fresh, hot green chiles (such as jalapeño) seeded & minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 Tbl. ground cumin
  • 2 t. ground coriander
  • 2 t. brown mustard seeds (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 2 t. ground turmeric
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbl. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (reserved for serving)
  • 2 lb. firm, mild white fish fillets such as tilapia, cod or halibut, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 Tbl. chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)

In a large frying pan or large Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it starts to turn golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chiles, ginger, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, and turmeric and sauté until the spices are fragrant and evenly coat the chopped onion, about 1 minute. Add the chopped (regular) tomatoes, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until the tomatoes begin to release their juices. Pour in 1-1/2 cups water and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wood spoon.

Partially cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. Uncover and add the fish, stirring gently to coat with the sauce. Partially cover and cook until the fish is opaque throughout and the sauce is thick, about 20 – 25 minutes longer. Check the sauce halfway through the cooking time; if it seems to be getting too thick, stir in a little more water, 1/2 cup at a time. Just before serving time, add most of the halved cherry tomatoes and heat for 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve atop basmati rice, garnish with chopped cilantro, a light scattering of brown mustard seeds and a few more little tomato halves atop.

I’ve adapted this recipe from one appearing in Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Slow Cooking, a book I’ll turn to often for slow-cooked, mainly one-pot meals. It’s a winner.

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For a printer-friendly version, click here.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ashley #

    I want to live in these colors.

    May 12, 2011
  2. carolyn #

    We love this dish at our house, too! I got the recipe from Spree over a year ago and have used it for countless special occasions. When I have guests, I love to be able to serve delicious food that I don’t need to fuss over. This dish is perfect. You couldn’t ruin the fish if you tried, for it will be thoroughly slow-cooked, saturated and swimming in this savory, delectable sauce. It’s really almost fool-proof. Wish I had had this one years ago !

    June 13, 2011

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