Fish curry with salmon

I was raised a vegetarian. My father occasionally eats poultry and seafood but my mother is a strict vegetarian. Growing up meat dishes were never a part of our household meals. However when I left for college to a state halfway across India, my diet suddenly suffered due to the hostel (dorms, as they are called here) food. In our hostel vegetarian meal was included in the standard meal-plan while you had to pay a hefty extra amount to get non-vegetarian food served three times a week. Needless to say, extra costly non-vegetarian food was much nutritious and wholesome than the standard meal-plan included veg food (note that vegetarian food can be in-general completely nutritious; but the way it used to be prepared at our hostel made it especially unappetizing and thereby non-nourishing as we would mostly skip the meal and snack on chips to satisfy our hunger). Due to the heavy school-work and the unbalanced dorm diet, over the years I lost some weight and my health started to suffer. I still remember the day when the college doctor finally wrote me an Rx prescription which said 'eat non-veg food' :-) I suppose he was a bit too well aware of the state of default meal plan in school!

Anyway, with some encouragement from my dad I did follow the doctor's advise and signed up for the extra meal-plan and thats how I started eating non-veg :) Funny story but its true! Over the years I have come to love my chicken biryanis, tikka masalas and prawn currys. Now-a-days I mostly eat healthy and wholesome vegetarian food but once in a while do prepare a chicken or a seafood dish. One thing I love to date the most though is the fish curry! I don't really have a fish curry recipe. I either pan-fry the fish fillets and add them to the curry sauce or simmer the fish cubes in the sauce. Sometimes I add frozen coconut while at other times its just a simple tomato based sauce.
Everyone in India knows that when it comes to fish currys no-one can beat the Goan and the Bengali currys! So when I saw this fish curry recipe from Sayantani I instantly book-marked it. Today finally I got around to trying this curry and it turned out wonderful! I adapted some of the spices with what I had at hand and chose salmon as the main fish.

Recipe: Serves 4
Source: adapted from A Homemaker's Dairy
2 medium size salmon fillets
2 small green chilis
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1in piece of ginger
2 ripe tomatoes
2 small boiling potatoes
1.5Tbsp yogurt
2C water
1 lemon
1Tbsp canola/vegetable oil

1/2tsp nigella seeds
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1/4tsp garam masala
1/4tsp chaat masala (optional)
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1/2tsp cumin powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp mild chili powder
1/2Tbsp paprika (for color)

  1. Remove the skin from the salmon fillets and cut them into large cubes (about 10 cubes). Sprinkle juice of half lemon, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and salt. Set aside to marinade.
  2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop onion, ginger and garlic and puree them in a food processor to make an onion paste. Chop the chilis and tomatoes finely. Slice the potatoes into thin round slices.
  3. Heat oil in a large bottomed pan. When hot, temper with nigella seeds and mustard seeds.
  4. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add chilis and onion-ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a few minutes until the raw onion smell disappears.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Next add all the dried spices and toast for a minute or two until aromatic.
  7. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to fall apart (about 5mins)
  8. Add 2C water little by little and let the mixture come to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat to simmer and add beaten yogurt and mix well.
  10. Add the fish pieces, enough salt and cook covered for 10-15mins until the fish is cooked through (salmon will turn pale white and will flake easily when poked with a fork).
  11. Remove from heat and serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice and hot rice.
Recipe notes:
This recipe works best with a thick flesh fish - salmon, cod, halibut would all work well. Boneless, skinless fish would be ideal. When adding yogurt make sure that the heat is barely to simmer so the yogurt does not curdle.