February 27, 2007
Fish (Tilapia) Curry
By now, you must have heard my ranting on the quality of fish here and the endless nostalgia on Calicut's ample fish supply. Well, Tilapia is one fish we get here fresh at all the supermarkets and according to the American Tilapia Association, it is now the fifth most popular seafood consumed in the United States. It is a fresh water fish favored by many, but we always found it lacking in the robust flavor when made in the traditional Kerala style or fried with spices.
It would lie solitary in the coconut curries, unconcerned by the spices around it and break up when we simmer it for too long. It does take well to grilling with any marinade, especially a green marinade that I had blogged about a long time ago. And however much I fried it,it never took on the much yearned crispy crust.
So when I tried a combination of both as suggested by one of my friends, it gave the fish as much flavor as it could hold! So do try this recipe if you love fish and can't get fresh sea fish. It has a tomatoey flavor and goes well with both rice and roti.
You will need:
Tilapia Fillets-2-3(1/2 lb)
Onion- 2 cups finely chopped
Tomatoes-2 plum tomatoes (medium size)
Red Chili Powder-1 tsp(use less as per taste)
Lemon Juice- 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves, Cilantro -one handful
1.Cut the fish fillets into 2-3 inch sizes and rinse the with lemon juice and drain. Sprnkle some salt and turmeric and chili powder and coat. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile chop all the ingredients finely.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan(definitely nonstick else you will need more oil) and saute the fish fillets gently on medium high heat till they change color. Flip them over and cook the other side. This is just to firm up the fish and not to deep fry it. Drain onto a plate and keep aside.
3. Scrape off all the fish from the pan and reheat with the remaining oil. Add the curry leaves and chopped onions. Saute just till they start turning brown at the edges. This needs oil to fry well or patience to do it on low heat. Either way, after it is sauted, add the green chilies, ginger and garlic. Saute till the aroma is realeased and then add the red chili powder, turmeric and stir well.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well on medium heat till it starts breaking down. At that point, add the fish fillets and 1 small cup of water.
5. Now comes the tricky part. Do not use the spoon liberally to stir after adding the fish. Hold the pan with mittens and shake to combine the fish and gravy. Add salt, cover and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes on medium heat. Now open and cook for another 4 minutes, just to concentrate the liquid. Add the cilantro leaves and check seasoning. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice if your tomatoes are bland.
Serve with rice or roti or bread.