A dish from Kerela that I fell in love with and had’t made in a long while…. A friend recently reminded me of this delicate yet flavorful dish and I think it came out quite good. The fresh catfish fillet really made a big difference as it just melts in your mouth!
Ingredients for the Marinade:
- Shrimp chili paste: 1-2 tablespoon
- Ginger: 1 inch
- A whole lemongrass stick
- Handful bunch of fresh basil
- Lemon juice: half a large lemon
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
Blend all ingredients into a paste
Cut the Catfish fillet into 2-3 inch pieces season with salt and pepper on both sides and then mix well with the marinade. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
In a hot pan with 2 -3 tablespoon oil lightly fry the marinated fish. Just so each side gets cooked. Should take 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to cook the fish and instead just lightly fry the outside. Set the fish aside and make the curry.
Ingredients for the curry:
- 1and1/2 table spoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon: mustard seeds
- 2-3 sprigs: curry leaves
- 2 large: shallot onions (thin finely chopped, long)
- 4: cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 inch: ginger (chopped)
- 1/2 pint: cherry or grape tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
- another whole lemongrass stick chopped up (I use scissors)
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 can: coconut cream
- 1 can coconut milk
- Green chillies broken in half
- A light squeeze of lemon juice.
Wipe down the pan and add the coconut oil. Once hot add the mustard seeds and 1 sprig of curry leaves.
As the seeds splutter add the sliced shallots. Once they turn translucent add in the ginger and garlic. and fry on medium heat till the raw smell of garlic is gone. (3-5 minutes)
Toss in the cherry tomatoes. Once they get a golden sheen add the turmeric powder and lemongrass and toss for another 2-3 minutes in total. This is when the kitchen starts smelling amazing!
Now add in the coconut milk and coconut cream give it a stir. Add in the other two sprigs of curry leaves. Rip the leaves using your hands before you add it in. Add a touch of lemon juice, just a light squeeze (you don’t want it too lemony) and the green chillies if you like a bit of kick. Cover and let the sauce simmer 5 minutes. Then add in all the fish pieces, and cover and cook for 5 more minutes and you are done!