BARRY SAYS: It's Independence Day, so to celebrate we decided to feature one of our favorite Indian dishes. Actually, we figured by the time you are reading this, you would have your Fourth of July plans well under way, and we really do like this menu.
I brag on Kelley's cooking a lot, and she can prepare a lot of different foods, but Indian is among the very best things she does. She made a pretty dang good saag paneer the other day.
Anyway, this dish, with its and spicy flavors, was pretty amazing, too. The fish was a bonus.
KELLEY SAYS: My inspiration for this dish was a pleasant surprise. A co-worker recently traveled to Alaska with her family, and they brought back fresh halibut from their fishing trip.
As I began to look for ways to prepare the fish, I kept thinking curry. I found a recipe that looked easy and would accompany a side of pineapple curry. Hot and sweet, yum.
BARRY: Indian food scares a lot of people. They seem to think it is all going to be spicy hot. It can be if you want it to be. For me, it's about flavors. With a good Indian dish, you taste every bite. Often, like with this dish especially, every bite can have several flavors.
KELLEY: The freshness of the fish was key to this dish. The spices didn't overwhelm. They complemented the dish. The texture also stood up well with this curry. It didn't fall apart and was just as good the next day.
I rarely would recommend seafood as leftovers, but this one worked. In my opinion, curries are better the second day, because the spices and flavors have had time to work their magic.
With the hot temps we've had this week, let's take a trip to India. Light some incense. Put some music on. Sit down to an easy summer dinner.
Hot & Spicy Fish Curry
2 large, thick fish filets (we used halibut)
1 tablespoon Alchemy Spice Indian masala
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons mustard oil or coconut oil, divided
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon kala jeera seed
1/4-1/2 can Maesri brand Kaeng Kua curry paste, to taste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 can water
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Pat fish dry and sprinkle with mixture of masala and turmeric. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Heat skillet, and add 1 tablespoon of oil until smoking. Remove from heat and sear on both sides. You want to get a light crust, but do not cook all the way.
Remove fish from pan and set aside. Add remaining oil to pan, and add shallots, kala jeera seeds and curry paste.
Saute until shallots are limp. Add ginger paste, tomatoes and water. Lower heat, and cook for about 30 minutes. Just before serving, return fish to pan. Cover and turn off heat for a couple of minutes so fish can resume cooking. When ready to serve, stir in chopped cilantro.
Serve with basmati rice.
Makes 2-3 servings.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...