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.


Kalyn Denny said…
Wow, this definitely looks fantastic.
Ushnish Ghosh said…
Dear Prajakta
That is an wonderful write up on turning into non-veg. and going all the way up to fish and liking it is a great achievement. I often used to get into argument over non veg vs veg..The veg food is equaly healthy barring few amino acid we never get from Veg. You must have noticed the milk intake has gone down remarkably for growing kids...previously kids could take various milk product like dahi, milk, Paneer, Khoya based product apart from plenty of Dal. So it is important that enough protien is eaten ( of course with fat and carbo) at least till 18 when the growth phase is over. Friends from down south has a built in high protein intake system through Udad Dal and Dahi. Even if I am a Bong, I saw to it my children had lot of dosha , Idli, Dahi BaDa apart from the usual non veg..
I always told my Vege friends , either to feed 1 to 2 lit of milk product or turn them non vege...and let them become vege by choice after 18 , dont harm their health etc etc

The dish is superb and your detailing too ..Sayantani has the best Bong recipes
Have a nice week ahead
indosungod said…
Looks very tasty PJ. I have very many bookmarked Bengali fish recipes and hoping to get to all of them slowly but surely. Sayantani is a master at making you drool and here you have recreated it pretty well.
Hamaree Rasoi said…

Salmon Looks very tasty and colorful.Loved the garnishing with coriander leaf as well.

Hamaree Rasoi
PJ said…
Kalyn, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.

Ushnish-da, yes i agree, you have to be specially concious that you intake a good amount of protein on vegetarian diet. I make sure to have a lot of lentils and yogurt in our diet for the same reason. Milk is an excellent source too, ofcourse.

Indo, Bengali fish curry recipes are the best! I am happy with this one so I am open now to trying more :)

Deepa, thanks! I am so glad you liked the dish and the decoration.
Suji said…
We love seafood..Fish curry looks delicious PJ..Lovely write up on how you became a non veggie..

Kairali sisters
Cool Lassi(e) said…
I was raised a strict vegetarian by my mom too.I converted to non-veg in my late teens due to health reasons as well.:). Love fish curry. Besides the Goans and Bengalis, Keralites are also well-versed in the art of cooking fish.
PJ said…
Kairali sisters, thanks! Seafood is my favorite too.

Lassie, oohh.. yes, how could i forget keralite fish currys! they are very tasty too.. now that you mention it, i must go and find some kerala fish curry recipe next, got any? :)
Sushma Mallya said…
love fish, and this looks spicy and delicious...using poatoes in fish gravy is something new to me but would love to try...
Miri said…
I have no such health reasons to give - I just started eating chicken and then fish once I was in college because I liked the preparations in my friends homes. It still isnt about the meat, but about the dish and how its prepared. Can't eat too much at a time or even too much in a i guess my vegetarian roots remain...

That fish curry looks amazing!
Shama Nagarajan said…
yummy superb fish curry
Luigi said…
Oh wow this looks amazing, I will have to try this.
Priya Suresh said…
Personally i never curry with salmons, but after seeing urs am gonna try whenever i get them from my fish market, thanks for sharing this droolworthy curry Pj..
U know...salmon was the only fish i knew whn i came to the Uk and so all my curries and fries were with salmon and i hates it..cos i think it had a distinct taste..but then again im not a sea food fan at all and i say the same always:)
I then discovered tuna steaks and cod and halibut and all that and havent tried salmon in ages..mayb now i shud try it again..and see if it can change my mind :)
Preeti Kashyap said…
Looks yummy though I cannot comment on it as I am a veggie. But yes, seem a lot of people due to lack of veggie foods in hostel and abroad.
PJ said…
Sushma, fish with potatoes is a combo I tried recently and loved it. i think its a bit of starchy content with a lot of protein which i like.

Miri, that sounds like a fantastic reason! Yes, meat curries do taste very different than veggie curries so i know what you mean.

Shama, thanks! I am so glad you liked the fish curry.

Luigi, i hope you try it. it tasted amazing with some fresh lemon and rice.

Priya, salmon is one fish i can get easily here so i try to squeeze it in whenevere i can :)

An open book, i agree, it does have a distinct taste but i have come to love that taste now :) besides its the only fish available easily and affordable in local stores many times.

Preeti, thanks! its just the unappetizing preparations that are made in hostels that make us skip meals and snack on :)
Very interesting write up PJ...curry looks delicious but this style is slightly differs from what I used to cook using tamarind and coconut for fish...
tinyskillet said…
A very nice post here. You sound a lot like me by not have a curry recipe just adding this and that. The one you have here sounds and looks delicious. I wasn't raised vegetarian but we often eat that way and when we eat meat it isn't in large quantities. I wasn't a big fish or seafood eater as a child, but have learned to like sevearal now (still not shrimp). My daughter always liked salmon so that is what we have. If she likes it can't argue with that (not my husbands favorite) but he'll eat it! Thanks for sharing!
This is my fav one...Nicely clicked dear.
PJ said…
Treat and Trick, i cook tamarind and coconut based fish curry many times. this was a bit different than usual though.

Lyndsey, yes, shrimp is something i am not a major fan of either.. though i like pretty much all other seafood.

Jay, thanks! I am so glad you liked it
Oh thats a lovely dish and surely yours look much better than mine. thanks a ton for trying it and for all your kind words Prajakta. love the spice mix you used and now am gonna try your version soon.
between loved Ushnishda's comment. am a mother of an one year old and while raising him those are very good points to remember.
Thanks to both of you.
Joanne said…
I adore salmon and I know the flavors in this curry must really bring out it's fantastic flavor!
Shriya said…
I love salmon in my fish curry and looks soo delicious.
interesting writeup about your non veg conversion.. We both love fish and its one of the common dish in your household.. But our curry is little different... your dish looks great and well presented too
thats a delicious curry to sit and have while i listen to ur wonderful story about college , and yeah i love bengali, goan and Kerala curries too , minus too muc of spice:-)

Have a happy day!!!
PranisKitchen said…
pj whata adleicous fish curry dear.. looks so tasty
Preeti said…
That is a nice recipe. I will try your version. Check my son's version as well on my newly set up blog. Interesting write up about your veg to non-veg move.