A very simple and sour soupy fish curry with fresh ground spices and tang from sweet tamarind and vinegar. I found fresh mackerel at the store and was immediately inspired to make this.
There are no tomatoes or yogurt like most north indian fish curries here. The much needed sour comes from vinegar, the use of which is slightly inspired by how goan fish curries are done, however I didn’t use any coconut or coconut milk in this one.
With a bowl of warm rice and few sliced onions, this is absolute delight to eat. You can use any firm mild fish in this recipe. Fresh ground spices make the aroma of the curry even more bold and I really recommend you grind them fresh, incidentally that is the only time consuming part of this recipe.
- 3 Mackerel, cut into pieces (about 1 pound), cleaned
- 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/4 th piece star anise
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 tsp hot red chilli powder(adjust to taste)
- 6-8 curry leaves
- 1.5 tbsp malt vinegar (less if you like less sour)
- 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 1 tsp jaggery (skip if using sweet tamarind)
- Salt to tatse
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 5-6 Black peppercorns
- 4 Cloves
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
Place the fish in a bowl. Sprinkle the turmeric and salt over the fish and massage nicely. Set aside for 15 mins.
Dry roast all the spices listed under “Spices” and grind them to a powder using your spice grinder. Mix the spices with red chilli & turmeric along with a couple tablespoons of water in a bowl and let stand.
In a cooking pot, add the oil. Once the oil is smoky a bit, add the star anise and saute for 10 seconds. Add the onions next and let them brown. The onions have to be browned nicely for a good flavor. Once the onions are browned, add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute or so till you smell the aroma.
Next add the curry leaves along with the spice paste, you can add a splash of water (about 3 tbsp) and cook everything together for a few minutes till you notice the oil separating. Dont saute a lot.
Add 1 cup warm water to the pot, add salt and let come to a slow simmer. Add the fish next to the pot and let cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes. Dont let boil. You can cover if you fish but really fish cooks fast.
Once you notice that the fish is white and firm, add the vinegar, tamarind and jaggery. Gently mix everything and let cook for another 2 mins.
Switch off the stove and cover the pot. Let sit for 2 hours before serving.