Our Mum’s legacy “ros” (coconut milk) curry: as handed down to sister Preeti Sardesai
Last night, while wandering up from the Northampton town centre with Anu riding shotgun,we drove past an impressive street-corner location, where a shop called “Fish Supermarket” was busy fitting into the rundown but vibrant surroundings on Kettering Road.
Wandering past garbage bins and crowds of colorfully dressed and creatively coiffured groups chatting on the street corners, walking their dogs or just loitering through the haze of having woken up in the late afternoon with their hangovers, we made our way to the shop,having manged to secure the all- important parking spot, on double yellow lines just by an overflowing skip in the vicinity of a balti restaurant and discount booze store. A fishy whiff whafted past on a zephyr about 20 feet away from the shopfront, reassuring us that we were heading in the right direction.
Inside, the fish supermarket was surprisingly spacious and conveniently, free of customers. A friendly fish-monger, with a vaguely Baltic/Turkish accent, attentive but non-intrusive, allowed us to browse his wares, laid out on ice, with no glass topped counter intruding between us and the fish, lovingly inviting one to handle the fish directly, as in a market stall.
Having jabbed a couple of fish in the eyes, poked one behind the gills and cast a cursory dismissive eye over the pre-packaged frozen stock in the corner,we proceeded to acquire some Kingfish steaks and a couple of medium-sized pomfret (from China we were informed by the fishmonger’s assistant). The steaks went down a treat in the late summer evening, washed down with a cold Budvar and lovingly marinated and expertly fried by the SWMBO (she who must be obeyed).
We then petitioned Preeti to refresh our memories with our dear mum’s recipe for a pomfret curry, which Preeti has over the years, honed to culinary perfection. I now share this with you, gentle reader, while I wait for the prescribed sauce to thicken on a gentle simmer, while it awaits the fish (cut cross-wise as steaks, Indian-stylee, which puzzled the gentleman fish-monger no end) to join it in lasting union, all the while wafting a gentle aroma of Kasmir chillies, onion and mustard seeds into the summer afternoon
Mom’s Pomfret Curry
For 2 large pomfrets
For Masala (to grind into a smooth thick paste using water as needed):-
2 medium onions – chopped or roasted
2 cloves large garlic – peeled & chopped
Coconut – 1 whole, if using fresh
6 tbsp if using dry dessicated
2 tsp tamarind paste
¼ tsp mustard seeds
6-8 large dry Kashmiri red chillies, de-seeded
1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds or powder
2 tsp coriander seeds or powder
4-5 black pepper seeds
A pinch of turmeric powder
Take out ground masala paste into thick bottomed pan. Add water and blend with the help of spoon into a thick curry-like consistency. Add 1+1/4 tsp salt, 3-4 thinly sliced ginger juliennes, one green chilly slit lengthwise. Mix well and put to boil on stove.
Keep stirring every once in a while to blend out lumps and to ensure the curry does not split.
Once curry comes to a boil, allow it to boil for about two minutes, then drop in the fish pieces (washed and salted before-hand), and stir carefully so as to avoid breaking the pieces.
Allow curry to boil for 3-4 minutes, then reduce heat and add ¼ cup coconut milk (either tinned or mix 3 tsp Maggi coconut milk powder with ¼ cup warm water).
Coconut milk has to be added very slowly to the curry and keep stirring gently.
After a minute, switch off heat and cover the curry.
Heat 2 tsp coconut/cooking oil in another small pan, add ½ thinly sliced onions, 3-4 curry leaves, one garlic sliced, 2 slices ginger, 2 dried red chillies and when onions turn golden, pour over the fish curry.
Cover and let the curry stand for about ten minutes.
Lo & behold, your curry is ready to be devoured.
Do remember me when you are licking off your plates, Enjoy!!! 👍