Now that there are a few bottle of Skiz’s Original Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder out there, I need to feed all the home cooks with some authentic recipes. I thought I’d celebrate the official first day of summer with a new recipe for fish curry. This happens to be a “red” fish curry for several reasons. First of all, the recommended fish to use is tuna, or some other firm, red-fleshed fish. Most white fish would be too flaky and come apart. Secondly, a “red curry” in Sri Lankan parlance means a curry that uses large amounts of red chili. We like that. A lot. You might not, so you can always use some of that harmless paprika in order to derive the same aesthetic satisfaction out of the dish. This recipe also calls for tamarind. Don’t be afraid if you’ve never used it. If you can’t find the actual fruit, which somewhat resembles edamame in the pod, tamarind paste is now found all over the place–not just ethnic markets. It imparts a tart, tangy taste which contrasts well with the overall spiciness of the dish. If you are using a paste, just be careful not to use too much (a teaspoon dissolved in a little water ought to do the trick). Also, don’t forget the curry leaves, which I will never tire of saying are the essential flavor of Sri Lankan food. We use them in everything and plentifully. I am, in fact, trying to grow my own tree at the moment, from a cutting a friend gave me. There seemed to be a shortage of curry leaves a few weeks back, but I finally found out it was due to bad weather in Florida, where most U.S. product comes from. A friend of mine told me you can get them at Whole Foods now for $3.99 a bag, but go to any Indian store where you won’t pay more than $1. This fish couldn’t be easier to prepare and teamed with some basmathi rice, dhal, and a salad, you’ve got a delicious, nutricious summer meal.
Red Fish Curry (Miris Malu)
As the name suggests, this dish is meant to be on the spicier side, as red connotes chili powder (cayenne). For a less spicy version, reverse the amounts of cayenne and paprika.
2 lbs. (1 kg) fish (tuna or another red fish)
1 tbsp. tamarind, soaked in 1/4 cup (65 ml) warm water
2 tbsp. roasted curry powder
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. fenugreek
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. oil
1 onion, sliced
2 in (5 cm) piece ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2-3 green chilies, slit from stem to tip
1 sprig curry leaves
1 1/2 cups (325 ml) water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1.) Wash fish and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) chunks.
2.) Soak tamarind in water and discard seeds and fiber.
3.) Marinate fish in tamarind solution and powdered spices (curry powder, cayenne, fenugreek, paprika). Set aside for 30 minutes.
4.) Heat oil in pan. Sauté onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and curry leaves until onions are translucent.
5.) Add fish to pan with water and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked.
Makes 6-8 servings
ATTENTION NEW YORKERS!!!
Skiz’s Original Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder is now available at:
123 Lexington Ave. (& 28th St.) in Manhattan
Ask for it by Name!