Tomatoes lend a wonderful flavour to fish steaks when simmered for some time. I usually like fish with bones and skin for my curries as the skin and bones bring all the flavours of fish alive. I wouldn't ever use fish fillet for curries unless I am serving it to fussy guests. But trust me this simple tomato fish curry would floor some of those fussy eaters too.
A tomato based fish curry, as simple as it can be. I mean no overpowering spices, very nominal cooking oil used and very few steps to make the curry. A mild whiff of nigella seeds and a tangy taste of tomatoes complimented well by a bit of garlic is somewhat describes this curry totally, of course the red chilli balances the act. And that's about it. No other flavours spoiling the tomato fun.
Most of my Indian style fish curries are inspired by Bengali fish curries and this is one of them. I started eating fish influenced by some Bengali friends and I owe it to them the way I can handle my fish. And note that this tomato fish curry has to be cooked in mustard oil, else you will get something else, you may like it but not you will miss some magic that mustard oil lends to this curry.
2 large fish steaks about 120-150 gm each
2 tsp besan (chickpea flour)
generous pinch of salt and turmeric to smear the fish steaks
400 gm tomatoes (desi tart and sweet variety please)
3 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli broken
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1.5 tbsp mustard oil
1/4 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
handful of chopped coriander greens
salt to taste
Smear the salt and turmeric over the fish steaks and dredge very lightly over a very thin layer of chickpea flour.
Heat mustard oil in a cast iron pan and shallow fry the prepared fish steaks.
In the meanwhile chop the tomatoes roughly and make a paste along with garlic cloves. Keep aside.
In the remaining oil after shallow frying the fish steaks, add the nigella seeds and green chilli pieces. Wait till nigella seeds get fragrant and pour the tomato paste over it. Add salt, red chilly powder, half of the coriander greens (preferably the stem parts) and let it come to a soft boil.
Slide the fried fish steaks in the simmering tomato gravy, add a little hot water if you want the curry thinner and simmer for about 5-6 minutes.
Adjust seasoning, add a little sugar ( I needed 1/4 tsp) if the tomatoes are too tart.
Serve hot with plain boiled rice, garnished with the remaining coriander greens.
Rustic, simple, clean flavours that make everyday food so much more desirable. You can serve some vegetable stir fry with this meal of some raw salads too. We had a lavish fish meal with these fish cakes along with this tomato fish curry.
Here is another tomato based fish curry where I have used Bombil or Bombay duck. One more tomato based fish curry is a bit complex with some spices used and a little rich too. You can see I love using tomatoes in my fish curry, but this one is the simplest of all tomato fish curries I make.
Do let me know whenever you try this. It will be good to mention that this curry tastes great with just some lightly fried boiled potatoes or even paneer. Or use the besan ki katli or patode to make this curry. So there are many vegetarian versions too.