This recipe is for my friend Jennifer who especially asked for a fish curry recipe using Tamarind and no fenugreek. The use of tamarind in fish and seafood curries is traditional in South Indian curries and adds a beautiful tangy flavour.
Tamarind has all sorts of health benefits and is rich in many nutrients. This is a good link for more info https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tamarind#section4
I keep a block of pressed tamarind handy in the fridge but sometimes use concentrate. If using pressed tamarind then slice off a thick bit and steep in boiling water and using gloves rub the skin and pulp off the seeds, the resulting mixture looks brown and murky but adds delicious flavour to the curry.
Some curries use a lot more tamarind for a dark, rich sauce but this one is quick and lighter.
Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
2 thick boneless fillets of monkfish or similar meaty white fish, cut into medium size pieces (about 500g)
1 large onion diced
2 large ripe tomatoes diced
3 cloves garlic and equal fresh ginger pound to a paste
Handful of fresh curry leaves (optional)
1/2 stick of cinnamon bark (optional)
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
2-3 fresh chillies tops sliced off, left whole (optional)
Thick “slice” of tamarind or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chilli powder depending on your taste
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coriander to garnish
Steep tamarind in 1/2 cup boiling water whilst preparing other ingredients, or mix tamarind concentrate with 1/2 cup of boiling water and set aside.
Heat oil in heavy based pot over medium heat
Add cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, curry leaves and green chillies if using until spluttering stops.
Add onions and cook slowly over medium heat until transparent, stirring from time to time to prevent caramelisation.
(if using block tamarind ….While onions are cooking, rub tamarind to seperate and remove any seeds from mixture, strain and set aside tamarind juice. You can use the pulp as well but make sure it has no seeds left in it.)
Add ginger and garlic, mix through into onions until just heated.
Add turmeric, chilli powder and fennel powder and mix through onions, taking care not to burn spices
Immediately add tomatoes, salt and mix well, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom
Add the tamarind water mixture and bring to a bubble.
Add fish and another half cup of water to bring sauce up to sides of fish.
Cook for 5-8 minutes on a slow simmer until sauce is reduced and fish is cooked to your liking, turn fish during cooking so both sides are coated in sauce.
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice.
This curry is delicious with Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney on the side.