Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catfish Coconut Curry

Things are jumpin'!  It's a good thing that today, on a whim, I decided to wear my apron, because some of the ingredients in today's recipe were literally trying to jump out of the pan!  This was only natural, as I tossed freshly grated ginger into oil, but all the same a cause for much excitement as I skedaddled out of reach of the splattering oil.  Also, there are now mustard seeds in unlikely places, as they were previously in the pan and already popping before the ginger livened up the party.

Today's recipe comes from Esther, mentioned yesterday and the soon-to-be recipient of curry leaves.  A month or so back, I bought a 7 lb bag of catfish nuggets.  This was an ambitious purchase, as Tom is not a big fan of fish, and of fish, catfish is decidedly at the bottom of the list.  I cast my net for recipes and got this curry recipe, a standard fry recipe, and a basque soup recipe.  My first dish, the soup, did not impress him.  Today's fare is my second chance, and I decided to tilt the scale in my favor by tapping into one of his favorite genres: Indian food.  Here is the original recipe, and I followed it mostly to a T.  Armed with the curry leaves from Raj and a slew of good ingredients, I got to work.

Tom's review?  It's the best catfish he's ever had.  He nevertheless wishes for me to use the sauce for something like chicken, chickpeas or tofu, all of which are more acceptable protein sources in his humble opinion.  He was very enthusiastic about the sauce.  If you're the same way, make it with some alternate protein source and report back.

Mine: DARN GOOD.  If my East Texas Mammaw had made Indian food, this is the recipe she would have made.  She would also have made it better than me, but when I'm a mammaw myself, my cooking will reign.  So, either get your mammaw to make it, or go make some yourself.

2 T olive oil, butter or coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 inch ginger, peeled, grated
10 curry leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Roma tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chile powder
.5 tsp salt
1 lb catfish cut into bite-sized pieces
.5 can light coconut milk (more if you're me)

1)  Heat oil until it shimmers.  Add mustard seeds.
2)  When mustard seeds start popping, add ginger, jalapeno, curry leaves.  Stir for a minute to mix.  Add tomatoes and gently cook for 10-12 minutes or until they're gloppy and the liquid is gone.  If the liquid goes MIA before the tomatoes get gooey, add about a quarter cup of water and cook until that's gone.
3)  Add turmeric, chile powder and salt.  Mix.  Add catfish.  Stir.  Cook for about five minutes and add coconut milk.  Stir, bring to boil, let simmer until fish is tender.

Curry leaves
Spices and oil
Coconut milk
Ginger and garlic
Grand Total for four servings


  1. Indian food in general is awesome. I went vegetarian for Lent a couple years ago, and the only way I was able to swing that as one-half of a VERY meat-avore household was to cook ALOT of Indian food. (The whole adventure is cataloged on our food blog, along with a ton of a-maz-ing Indian food recipes). Madhur Jaffrey's Invitation to Indian Cooking is hands down the best cookbook I own (and we own ~30+). Also, invest in a $5 dollar splatter screen. Totally saves your kitchen from flying mustard seeds.

  2. A splatter screen is DEFINITELY in my future! And thank you so much for the recommendation-- I hear great things about Madhur Jaffrey's book, so I will check it and your blog out for some inspiration!

  3. I'm glad it came out so deliciously and garnered a thumbs up from the fish-o-phobe!

    I always love finding new indian recipes, so Nina, I be checkin' yo blog out soon too....