A hunk of fresh-caught Alaskan salmon was asking to be made into an Indian-style flavorful fish curry. Not too spicy but full of aromatic goodness.
Most Indian curries start with a ginger + garlic + onion + tomato ground up to the masala paste base; to which cumin + coriander + star anise + Indian cinnamon bark + black peppers/dry red chilies mix is added in powdered form and sautéed for flavors to develop.
That is just one of the popular combination of dry mix, but there are umpteen regional variations, of course: fenugreek seeds, bay leaves, poppy seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, black cumin seeds, black cardamom, black mustard seeds, black sesame seeds...
Similarly, the masala paste has a few variations like adding yogurt, or almonds, or coconut, or tamarind, or curry leaves...
Part of the fun for me is to go with the flow, with my mood, with the ingredients handy in the kitchen (which is usually well-stocked with spices), and make a "surprise" curry.
2 cups of cubed salmon
1 large Poblano pepper, sliced
a few colorful sweet peppers, sliced
½ cup red onions, sliced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp brown sugar or demerera sugar
salt to taste
For the masala paste:
½ cup diced onions
½ cup diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp tomato paste
For the spice mix:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp white poppy seeds
1 star anise
2 dry red chilies
- Masala paste: Combine the masala paste ingredients and blend to a fine smooth paste and keep handy
- Spice mix: toast the spice mix ingredients in a pan till mildly aromatic, allow to cool a bit, then grind to a fine powder, keep handy
- Heat coconut oil in a pan, add the onions, turmeric, some salt and sauté
- Add the masala paste and peppers and saué some more till the rawness of garlic and ginger cook away
- Add the fish cubes and the spice mix, stir well and saute some more
- Add just enough water to immerse the fish, stir in the brown sugar, cover and simmer till fish is cooked and the flavors meld
- Serve with cooked quinoa, or millet, or rice, or roti or naan.