This is hands down, Q's favourite dish. He would share one whole curry salmon steak with me and still asks for more. And he eats it without drinking water, milk or lassi. I think if he can speak, he would ask for it everyday. So we're quite happy to wait for him to string a sentence for a few weeks more so we can probably enjoy salmon cooked in another way or Lamb and Beef Curry ;-)
Like Q, fish curry is my favourite curry. I like it done on the sour side with lots of tomatoes, green chillies, okra and aubergine and tamarind. I also like lots and lots of the fresh whole spices floating around and the fish is cooked on the bone. I usually choose the oily fish - mackerel and salmon being most accessible. Don't try it with tuna because it will be too dry. Red snapper and pomfret will be good too.
I think the oily fish stand up to the spices better and give a better definition to the curry. It is also important to note that this is more of an aromatic feast. The chilies though used in 2 forms - the fresh green chilies and the curry powder are not fiery as not to spoil the delicate flavour of the fish. They are used more to complement the other spices.
And one of the most important thing to have at hand - fresh curry leaves - the aroma is out of this world... and the taste without it is just flat. You can try it with dried leaves but you probably have to used 3 packets to get the same intensity. If it is not easily accessible to you where you live, you just have to order a lot and freeze. Frozen curry leaves although not as great as fresh is a thousand times better than the dried version.
And of course the fish has to be super fresh but I don't have to tell you that ;-)
3 salmon steaks - approximately 1kg
2 onions - sliced thinly
3cm ginger - sliced
3 garlic - crushed
3 green chilies - cut across
3 tomatoes - cut to four
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
1 TBSP whole fennel
1 TBSP whole cumin
1 TBSP whole coriander
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp fenugreek seed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp chili powder (or you can use chili paste)
1 tsp amchur powder
1 TBSP tamarind - soaked in some lukewarm water and turned into a paste
2-3 cups of water
2 TSBP coconut milk (or less)
7 okras - topped and tailed but leave whole
1 aubergine cut into cubes
1 extra green chili
1 extra tomato
1 extra sprig of curry leaves
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
1. Clean the fish and set aside.
2. Heat a pot and add all the whole spices - fennel, cumin, black mustard seeds and fenugreek - and dry fry for one minute.
3. Add oil into the spice mix and let the oil and spices warm at the same time. Add the curry leaves.
4. Add the sliced onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and stir to mix until brown for about 2-3 minutes
5. At this point add the tomatoes and stir some more.
6. Add in all the powdered spices - turmeric, chili, amchur and kas kas and sir some more.
7. Add a bit of water - about 1-2 Tablespoon. Mix again.
8. When you see the oil separating from the spices, you will see the paste change in texture and aroma - it would smell *cook*.
9. Add 2 cups of water and the tamarind paste. Let the mixture boil. Taste and season with salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a bit of sugar. The sugar is supposed to bring everything together.
10. When you are happy with the seasoning add the salmon and aubergine. If needed add extra water just to cover the fish.
11. Put the lid on, lower the heat and let everything simmer together until the salmon is half cooked. Taste again and season accordingly.
12. Prepare the okra just before you add them in, cube the tomato and cut the green chili across.
13. Add the vegetables, the coconut milk and leave to simmer again. The curry will now thicken and smell divine!
14. Taste for seasoning and add the extra curry leaves and serve.
1. Once the salmon is added, try to stir it as little as you can as to not breaking the fish. That is why you have to prepare the curry up to boiling and taste for seasoning (the first time) before you add the salmon.
2. It is really better the next day but usually we just can't wait...