Fish Masala

My husband and I have been married just over five years and we are now approaching our fourth move together.  Whether it’s to another state or another country, as soon as we have a date scheduled for the movers to come pack up our stuff, my husband becomes fanatical about cleaning out the pantry and the refrigerator.  Every grocery trip, he reminds me a few thousand times, “We are only buying the necessities, Alyssa.  We only have _____ days left.” (Last I checked milk was a necessity, honey.)

Curries and masalas are very common here and this fish masala is one of my favorite dishes at a near by restaurant.  And wouldn’t you know, when I started doing a little research into what goes into this dish, I had all of the ingredients on hand.  I thought making this was a bit like Nelu’s Biryiani, in that it seemed like a complicated recipe, but once I got going, building the layers of flavor was relatively easy. I would, however, suggest having all of the ingredients prepped before starting as making the sauce goes by quickly.

This masala was definitely a winner in our house. And it actually came together quick and easy enough that it made for a great weeknight dinner!

Fish Masala
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4
  • 1/4 cup-1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves diced
  • 1 to 4 (2-inch) fresh hot green chiles such as Thai or serrano, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mildly hot red Indian chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • /2 teaspoon curry powder
  • About 2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 4 medium ones),
  • 1-1.5 lbs firm white fish such as hammour or talapia
  • Salt and pepper
  • fresh dill for garnishing the fish
  • Cooked white rice to serve
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  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a wok. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish and sear in the wok. Remove the fish once browned on both sides and set aside.
  2. Add the mustard and coriander seeds to the oil and sauté until they pop, about 20 seconds. Add the onion and green chilies and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add the Chile powder, ground ginger, curry powder and turmeric. Cook 1 minute and then add in the tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes longer, or until the tomatoes start to break down. Add about 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  4. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the desired amount of coconut milk (the more you add, the less spicy the sauce will be).
  5. Cut the seared fish into 1 inch pieces and return to the sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer until the fish cooks through and the sauce reduces by 1/3, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with white rice and garnish with fresh dill.

Recipe adapted from Fish Masala at Epicurious

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts - I remember trying to clean out my freezer and pantry before we moved – not an easy task! This recipe sounds delicious and what a bonus you didn’t have to buy anything new!

Nami | Just One Cookbook - Omg, this looks sooo good! I only tried fish masala at my friend’s house a few times (she’s a great cook!), but haven’t even thought of trying on my own. I cannot eat too spicy, so making on my own really makes sense to lower the spice level for me and kids. I love your photos and styling, Alyssa. So beautiful.

Maggie @ Kitchie Coo - So, where are you moving to? Its been forever since I visited your blog and it looks like I have some catching up to do! :-)
I am not a huge fish eater, but my husband would go crazy over this dish. Gorgeous photos too!

Ramona - My lips are smacking for this dish. You know I love a good spicy curry style dish. Beautiful pictures too. :) Good luck with the move. I have so much stuff… I would not know how I would ever move. :)

Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen - Alyssa- This looks amazing! So flavorful and colorful! The pictures are beautiful as always!

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. - Oh yummy! This looks so flavorful!

Parsley Sage - Ooooh! Fish Masala is one of my all time favorites! There used to be an Indian place here that made gorgeous fish masala but it closed last year :(

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