Tart tamarind and mild, tender fish are a classic pairing in Indian cuisine. [Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that’s only when she isn’t eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.

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Ingredients

serves Serves 2, active time 20 minutes, total time 20 minutes

  • 4 fillets king fish (or any firm fleshed sea fish) about 6 ounces each
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 11/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic sliced fine
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind soaked in 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Procedures

  1. In a bowl, toss fish with turmeric and salt. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add curry leaves and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Reduce heat to low. In quick succession, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and fennel powder, and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute (take care not to burn the spices. Add a few teaspoons of water if you smell burning and stir it vigorously).

  2. Add the fish to the spiced oil mixture and stir gently to coat the fish with the oil. Let this infuse for about 10 seconds. Add the tamarind soaked water and gently stir the mixture to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil add the rice flour dissolved in water and stir. Allow to simmer uncovered for 1 minute then remove from heat. Serve hot with white rice and papadums.

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