This dish came about as an improvisation after making an assumption on what I had in the freezer. I usually buy fish or chicken about twice a month (we primarily eat vegetarian food), divide them into portions, marinate them in a couple of different types of marinade - lemon juice and salt, ginger garlic and red chilli etc - and then freeze the portions in zip lock bags. That way I take out one portion, thaw and cook as needed for the dish I have in mind.
So this one Sunday afternoon, when I opened the fridge, there were two ziplock bags in the freezer and I thought they were both fish pieces. So I got them out to thaw while I went ahead to prepare a simple fish curry. When I finally got around to opening the bag I realised that one had about 3 pieces of fish while the other was actually some boneless chicken! By then the masala for the fish curry had already been ground and the curry was simmering away waiting for the fish to be put in! Luckily I had a couple of boiled potatoes in the fridge, so I quickly peeled, chopped and put it into the curry to make up for the lack of fish. The chicken I cut up into small pieces and put into a kurma for my daughter for her meal. No harm done but maybe time to start labelling the packets before putting them away!
The fish curry is great with rice (isn't it always?!) and very easy to make. I used surmai (kingfish)- but its good with any firm fish - the potatoes aren't usually something I have in a fish curry, but as is usually with potatoes, they blended in very well.
Fish curry with potatoes
Surmai (king fish) fillets cut into two - 350 gms
1 tbsp oil
1 " pieced gingerfinely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 green chillies slit lengthwise
curry leaves - 5-6
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp haldi
1 medium onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
2 small potatoes, boiled, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp oil
4 red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
1 cup diluted tamarind extract
salt to taste
1. In one tsp of oil, roast the red chillies, coriander and fenugreek seeds till they give out a nice aroma; add the grated coconut and roast 3-4 minutes. Cool and grind to a paste.
2. Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and fry the fillets for 2-3 minutes on both sides and keep aside.
3. In the same pan, add the other 1/2 tbsp of oil and put in the mustard seeds, when they pop add the curry leaves and then the turmeric, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
4. Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes; then put in the tomatoes and fry till pulpy.
5. Add the ground masala, tamarind paste, salt and one cup of water and bring to boil.
6. Cover and simmer for about 10-12 minutes till the raw smell goes away and the gravy thickens.
7. Put in the chopped potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add some water if needed.
8. Then add the fish pieces, simmer for 5 minutes and then cover and remove from flame. Serve with steamed rice.