Konkan Style Fish Curry

I came across some straight from the boat fresh snapper fish at Sigona's and of course going Indian with this one.  I have not dabbled in Konkan style fish curries yet and was ready to take on the challenge.  Maybe a fry or a curry.  Went with curry as like the idea of having a nice side of cumin rice to soak up the goodness.  Also never worked with Kashmiri Chili yet! 

Konkan is an area along the West coast of India.  The 'Konkan' runs from Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka down to Malabar.  Their foods being Coastal areas are mostly synonymous with fish and seafood.  Hence hear their vegetarian and sweets are equally impressive. 

The major crop of this region is the coconut which have given rise to varied industries producing Khopra Oil, considered ayurvedic.   The area laced with coconut plantations, the monsoons bring lush crops of mango, betelnut and guava. 

So please folks know my heart is really roaming the beaches/fishing villages off the Arabian Coast (Konkan) but physically my keaster is stuck in California for this one.  My stab at this dish will most likely not be as exciting as if I had an actual coconut grater that I know I can get at Indian Grocery store..  I knew the pre flaked coconut may not do it justice as not fresh.  So folks we are just going with a good brand of full fat Coconut Milk of your choice, 14oz for this recipe. 

Konkan Influenced Fish Curry
  • 14 oz can of full fat Coconut Milk.
  • One small onion chopped.
  • Big pinch of Tumeric.
  • 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri Chili. (*  I have yet to find a Indian store out here that sells actual dried Kashmiri chilis, but did find a box.  I would not know if it is authentic but it sure was smokey and had a punch.)
  • 7-8 curry leaves.  These usually can only be found in Indian stores in the Summer unless you (a) have a plant of your own or (b)  vacuum pack them and place in freezer like I do:)
  • 3 garlic cloves.
  • 1 tablespoon of Ginger paste or if cannot find, throw in a chunk of fresh ginger. 
  • 1 teaspoon of Cumin seeds. 
  • 1 teaspoon of Tamarind pulp.  I just use the already pre made Tamarind concentrate with is so much easier to deal with. 
  • 1 pound of fish of your choice.  I believe any will do, and even shell fish but I liked the texture of the snapper for this recipe.  Score the fish more so the spices of the curry will embed itself into the fish.
Place all the above ingredients except for the fish into a blender and let pulse to a paste.  Just until everything is well blended.  A couple of minutes if that. 
Pour your curry into a hot pan and cook down a bit on medium high stirring around often.  Then add your fish and let the spices and heat do their thing.  For this type fish and thickness I cooked for about six minutes on high then turned off the stove to let set. 
I already had made my rice prior.  For this one I'll be serving with 'Jeera Pulao' which really translate to cumin rice.  It really is a easy dish but you have to have a good brand of Basmati for it to come out right. 
Crisi's Jeera Peas Pulao
  • 1 cup of good brand Basmati like Tilda
  • 1 small onion chopped.
  • 2 garlic bulbs chopped.  This is not traditional but I just like garlic:)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed whole.
  • 1 cup of frozen peas unless you have the time to shuck fresh ones.
  • Enough oil to coat bottom of pot.   
  • 1 3/4 cup of water.  (Don't listen to those instructions on the bag.  For California the ratio of water is as listed or you will have very watery mushy rice.)
Dice and sauté your onion and garlic slightly.  Then add the cumin and the frozen peas in the oil.  Just wake them up and give them a heat kiss.  
Add the rice and sauté around a bit until glossed with oil.  Add your water and bring to a boil.  At that point turn the heat down to simmer/low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes.  Pull from heat after 25 minutes and let it sit a bit while you are prepping your main dish.   
I tend to serve most all my Indian dishes with raita and Panjabi salad.  The raita is just yogurt sometimes with small cubes of cucumber but I usually just top with a bit of black salt.  My Panjabi salad is usually Onion, Chili's, Lime and Cucumbers.    The raita helps cool the heat sometimes of the curries or dry dishes. 
Anyway folks that curry did this lovely piece of snapper justice.  Like said I have never worked with Kashmiri chili before and I have read that it does land a super punch.  Next time I might just go with regular red Indian Chili or even Thai Chilis  with a large pinch of spicy smokey Paprika.  Then I guess it would not be Konkan right.  Awe the dilemma's.
Thank you and Remember, life is too short to eat badly!!!    


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