Tilapia Fish Curry - Bengali Style

This is one of my favorite fish curry recipe. I have tried it before with Salmon and posted here. I have been meaning to try it with tilapia. Tilapia is a more delicate fish so I was worried whether it would stand up to the pan frying and then steaming with the curry gravy and also whether the kalonji and curry flavors of the recipe would overpower the delicate light fish. I am happy to report however that the fish curry was just the same tasty with tilapia as with salmon.

I also managed to take step by step photos this time and made the recipe slightly simple. Original version called for various spices, this time I substituted all the spices with curry powder instead. Result was equally delicious! The trick is to find a good quality curry powder if you don't make one at home. I generally use Trader Joe's curry powder and I am quite satisfied with it; it's a very mild version heat-wise but packs a lot of punch. Home-made has it's benefits but using a good quality store bought one is a very useful time saving arsenal of a busy mom. Another good one I like is Maharaja curry powder from Penzy's spices.

We devoured the fish curry with rice and lime wedges.
This photo is from the time I had made it previously - we were too busy eating our dinner this time to stage a good one :)

Serves 3
3 tilapia fillets (preferably fresh)
quarter of a large onion - finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic - grated
1/2 in piece of ginger - grated
2 tomatoes - chopped
1 small potato - sliced
1/2tsp kalonji/nigella seeds (substitute with mustard seeds if you don't have kalonji - but try to use kalonji if possible, it gives it that Bengali taste!)
1tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp curry powder
2Tbsp yogurt
juice of 1 lime
canola or vegetable oil

Clean wash and pat dry tilapia fillets and cut each fillet into 2 or 3 large pieces. Add juice of half a lime, 1/2tsp turmeric powder and salt to the fish pieces and mix well. Let marinate for half an hour or so.
Heat 2Tbsp vegetable oil in a non-stick pan or a cast iron pan just until the oil starts to smoke slightly. Then add fish pieces one by one in a single layer. Do not crowd. 
Let cook for 3-5 mins depending on size and then flip them over. Pieces should  be slightly browned but not charred which otherwise will give them a chewy consistency.
Flip them over carefully and let cook on the second side for 2minutes. Take them off heat and keep aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a pan and add kalonji/nigella seeds. When they start to splutter add chopped onions. Let cook until onions start to brown.
Then add grated ginger and garlic and cook a few more minutes. Then add 1/2tsp turmeric powder and curry powder. Cook for a minute.
Then add chopped tomatoes and cook on low flames until oil starts to separate (~5-7mins)
Then add sliced potato and let cook for a few more minutes
Keep adding 1C of water at a time and stirring until you reach your desired gravy consistency. Do not add more than 4-5C of water. Let it come to a boil and then simmer of medium low.
Then add 2Tbsp yogurt and mix well. Yogurt will give the curry a thicker consistency and also will bring sourness to it. Add salt to taste.
Add fish pieces back to the curry. Let everything simmer together for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle more lime juice and serve with rice!