Try a Fish Curry!

In Recipies on October 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm

(NOTE:  Please mentally picture me, …again…bashing my head on my keyboard as it dawned on me that I…again…forgot to take at least one photo of the finished dish.  I simply got caught in the moment and rushed to table before clicking some pictures for readers.)


Curry is a love-hate dish.  People either love curry or they hate it.  I believe much of the dislike for curry comes from experimental eaters having been subjected to recipes using “curry powder” instead of one where the curry results from blending individual spices.

Another reason some people do not like curried dishes may be that too many cooks over-do the heat.  Sure, there are some mouth-flaming curries out there that are excellent.  But, a good curry lets the diner taste the subtle notes of each spice in each variation of curries.

Most people are familiar with Indian curries and a growing number of diners are becoming familiar with the cardamom-based curries of Iraq.  Even if you do not like curry, experiment a bit with basic curry mixtures to find one you like.

This recipe is a classic curry enjoyed in much of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.  It may be prepared as peppery as you like, or devoid of heat altogether.  Almost any firm fish may be used.  I prefer cod because it has firm flesh and a very mild taste that does not compete with the curry seasoning.

For busy cooks, canned tomatoes may be used instead of fresh and I like RO-TEL canned tomatoes (with chilies) because they add just the “right” amount of peppery heat.  This is a favorite for our Shabbat table because it can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and re-heated in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  If you are using Aleppo pepper, add it in pinches and be sure to taste the curry before adding more.  Cayenne pepper may be substituted for Aleppo pepper, but do not use more than 1/8 tsp if you want a mild dish.


4-6 pieces of cod (loins) weighing 4-6oz each

2-3 tbs olive oil

1 pound tomatoes diced (avoid very juicy tomatoes if using fresh)

or 1 can diced tomatoes or one can RO-TEL, brand

1 tbs minced ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger

1 large yellow onion in course chop

2 jalapeno peppers, minced (optional)

2 tsp ground coriander

3 tsp ground cumin

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

½ – 1 tsp turmeric root (ground)

½ C minced, fresh cilantro

¼ to ½ tsp Aleppo pepper

juice of 1 lemon

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Rinse fish in cold water, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Add lemon juice over the fish and set aside while you prepare the curry.

Heat olive oil over low-medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Do not brown the onions or overcook them.  Stir in the minced garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and turmeric.  Stir-fry spiced onions for about one minute longer.  Add tomatoes or add one of the canned varieties.  Stir in jalapenos, if using.  Or, stir in small amounts of the Aleppo pepper until desired heat is obtained.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, uncovered.  Covering the dish as it cooks will yield more liquid, if desired.  Add the seasoned fish portions (discard lemon juice) and cover.  Cook for 5-6 minutes.  Using two spatulas, carefully turn the fish portions over and spoon some of the curry liquid over them.  Re-cover and simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes.  Fish should flake easily when done.  Remove from heat immediately when done.  Serve over a bed of Basmati rice and garnish with minced cilantro leaves.

If you are making this dish ahead of time (up to 1-2 days!), place it in a covered casserole in the refrigerator.  Re-heat for 15-20 minutes (covered) in a 350-degree oven.

Let’s eat!

(IMPORTANT LINK:  Look for the recipe for fried eggplant elsewhere on “Phyne Dyning”!)


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