Goan Fish Curry with Coconut Milk and Tamarind

Goan Fish CurryHello, my name is Amy and I have a cookbook addiction.

It all started out so innocently. See, in a former life, I worked in both the publishing and retail book industry and I was lucky enough to get a number of “review copies” of some great cookbooks back when I was beginning to really get interested in cooking. Gordon Ramsay’s A Chef For All Seasons became my gateway drug.

Everything snowballed from there. At last count, I have a little more than 230 cookbooks in my collection. I love everything about them. I love the recipes and the pictures. I love learning about other cultures through their food. I love learning old tricks and new tricks and everything in between. It is my own personal culinary reference library tucked into two floor to ceiling bookcases in a corner of my kitchen.

Not too long ago, a friend asked me what are my Top 10 cookbooks from my collection. that is a very tough question to answer. I have my “go to” books for when I have questions, and I have my favorites for when I’m craving something ethnic, and of course a few of the time tested volumes for when you want to go back to basics. Joy Of Cooking anyone?

So I have begun the process of culling the list, but I doubt I will be able to limit it to just ten. Hmmm…maybe I’ll break it out by topic? Next week’s post will have the first selections, so get ready.

Meanwhile, as I am looking for the best of the best in my shelves, it’s a lot of fun thumbing through some of the books I haven’t looked at in ages.

Today’s post includes a recipe for Goan Fish Curry with Coconut Milk and Tamarind adapted from one of my favorite, though not often used, cookbooks called 1001 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. There are many good Indian cookbooks available (including anything by Madhur Jaffrey), but this one is an incredibly comprehensive collection of recipes from all the different regions of India.

Enjoy and stay tuned for next week…. 

Goan Fish Curry with Coconut Milk and Tamarind
Goa ki Fish Caldene Kari
Makes 4 to 6 servings
This fish curry from Goa that can be made with any firm variety of fish.

1 cup Coconut Milk
2 to 3 tablespoons Tamarind Paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 dried red chile peppers, such as chile de arbol, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 pounds any firm fish fillets, such as red snapper, salmon, or swordfish, about 1 inch thick, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, including soft stems

Prepare the coconut milk and tamarind paste.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick wok or saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the onion, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 1 minute.

In a small spice grinder or coffee grinder, grind together the red chile peppers, coriander, and cumin. Mix in the turmeric, then add the spice mixture to the onions and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

Add the water and coconut milk and bring to a quick boil, stirring, over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the tamarind paste and salt and simmer another minute.

Add the fish pieces and simmer until the fish is flaky and opaque inside. (about 10 to 15 minutes) Remove to a serving dish, mix in the cilantro, and serve.

Add 1 large finely chopped tomato to the onion before adding the spices in Step 2.

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