A colorful weeknight dish that takes little time but packs tons of flavor!
We didn’t eat a lot of curry in our house when I was growing up. Typical old time New Englander, my father liked things on the plain side, but my mom loved spices and heat. Dad usually won the battle, telling my mother she could always add some tabasco sauce.
A world of possibilities
As an adult, I learned to appreciate the marvelous flavors of India foods, and experimented with lots of combinations of spices. I’m sure I never even heard of fenugreek or garam masala when I was a kid! When my first husband was in the army, I met lots of other wives from around the globe, and one friend, Elizabeth cooked for us several times and introduced me to the basics. She taught me how to toast mustard seeds until they pop delightfully, and how to not be afraid to experiment and add this and that until it tasted the way I wanted. Like my mother, she seldom measured a thing, and it was always delicious.
Quick, easy, flavorful
I’m anything but an expert on India cuisine, I still don’t really know what I am doing, but we love a curry in this house, and we love fish. Many nights a week, we’re also looking to save a bit of time. This dish fits the bill on all counts.
Full of flavor and nutrition, this is a comforting dish of delightful, and I vary the spices every time, going by the feel of it as Elizabeth taught. One of my favorite aspects of making a curry is measuring out, smelling the aromas, and looking at the beautiful colors of the spices and herbs as I gather them in the pantry. It’s a sensory experience that sets the mood for creating the rest of the dish. How can you not be happy looking at these beautiful gifts?
I’ve used humble button mushrooms here; they are inexpensive and easy to find. However, you can use whatever mushroom you have on hand or love. In the autumn, I’d probably use some locally foraged maitake mushrooms. Cod and haddock are easy to find here in New England, but use any whitefish you you like and can find locally. You could also use sea scallops or large shrimp, or skip the fish, and make this a tofu and mushroom curry, using some big meaty mushrooms. So many possibilities.
Always a substitution
You can substitute 2 or 3 level teaspoons of your favorite curry powder for the spices in italics if you like, and use your own judgement in regard to heat. Or add other spices you like in the proportion that pleases you! I do like the Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder in a pinch, but it needs a bit of help with some cayenne for warmth.
Measure if you like, or throw caution to the wind and just go by the feel of it. You won’t go wrong! I like more heat than my husband, but in 2023, the cook wins (and he’s finally getting used to it!).
Quick Cod Curry with Mushrooms
- 1 lb. fresh Cod
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 sweet red pepper, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
- 1 dried red chili (cook’s option)
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk, light
- 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
Portion the fish as desired and season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside while you get everything else ready.
Over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms, and pepper and cook until soft and translucent, salting to your own taste. Make a little space in the center of the pan and add the garlic, tomato paste, and spices, and cook for a minute or so or until there is lovely fragrance. Have your vent fan on.
Deglaze the pan with water, reduce the heat to medium low, and add the coconut milk and ginger. Mix everything together and taste for seasoning. Nestle the fish in the curry, cover and cook for five minutes. Remove from the heat, and leave covered another five minutes.
Serve in a shallow bowl over brown rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or toast. You can garnish with flat-leafed parsley (all right, cilantro if you don’t think it tastes like soap), and a nice squeeze of lemon or lime.
One of my favorite aspects of making a curry is measuring out, smelling the aromas, and looking at the beautiful colors of the spices and herbs as I gather them in the pantry. It’s a sensory experience that sets the mood for creating the rest of the dish.
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