After meeting with the St. Albans cookbook club I gained inspiration with what to do with my packet of Tesco’s Fish Pie Mix that was 3 for £10 sitting lonely in my freezer. My fish pie was a flop and to be honest, how much fish pie can you actually eat in the winter? Well, what I experienced has not only made me ditch the forever boring fish pie, but has now been added to one of our weekly meals. Good bye to expensive, greasy take aways! Say hello to my 5 minute version of Sheba Promod from Absolute Indian Cookery (http://absoluteindiancookeryclasses.com/) Three Fish Kerala Curry. This meal has been made for two. A perfect date night meal.
What you need:
1 tsp whole mustard seed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp tumeric (three shakes)
1/2 tsp Fenugreek (the mystery ingredient in Indian cooking)
4 tsp ground coriander
2 pinches of sea salt
8 Kaffier Lime Leaves (freeze dried because I didn’t have 15-20 fresh curry leaves)
1/2 white onion
2 garlic cloves (tip: one clove per person who will be eating the meal)
2 inches of fresh ginger
2T of tomato puree
400ml of Essential Waitrose half fat coconut milk
25g of Presidente unsalted butter
2T olive oil
Tesco mixed packet of fish, prawns, chicken (your choice of substitution, and any supermarket brand)
Fresh coriander (cilantro)- a handful for cooking and a handful for garnish
Let’s get started:
In a metal pan on low heat (preferably with a metal handle), put your olive oil (you can free pour- I never really measure things that is why I cannot bake)! The thing that will help you make this recipe quick and easy is the fact that the spices are used with a teaspoon. ADD one teaspoon of mustard seed to the warming olive oil. Listen for the cracking.
ADD your sliced half of onion, and your grated garlic and grated ginger. Squeeze your tomato puree into the pan. I used two big wallops. Next, grab your teaspoon. Add 1/2 chili powder, 1/2 Fenugreek (I couldn’t find the ground one so I just crunched up the whole seeds, which gave the meal more texture which we liked. It should not lumpy, you can use your pestle and mortar to get the powder like consistency, or a big bowl and rolling pin- much more my style). This is the first time I have ever used Fenugreek in Indian cooking. And, after I opened up the spice jar I had an ‘aha’ moment. This is the spice that marries all of the flavours, this is the spice that you smell when you walk into a curry house, this is the spice that we are going to use from now on in our curry cooking!
Next add 4 teaspoons of ground coriander and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. I couldn’t be bothered to locate my measuring spoons and plus, this meal is supposed to take 5 or so minutes to pull together so three shakes of the turmeric and I am on my way.
Make sure the heat is low- burning is a no, no! You can take the pan off of the heat if you’re stuck in wine and conversation.
Next, pour the 400ml (the whole can) of coconut milk into the pan. Give it a nice twirl with your wooden spoon. Because I am Italian I am all about cooking with the wooden spoon. Taste with a separate metal spoon and double dipping not allowed!
Next, put the lime in the coconut and then you mix it up. Throw your Kaffir Lime Leaves in with the mix, grab a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro they call it in the states) and stir. Add your 25g of butter to the sauce and your done. You can use any brand of butter; however, I have been using Presidente unsalted butter for years and it truly is my favourite.
For the next stage you are going to ensure that you put your fresh fish packet into the pan. Ensure that they are not frozen, however; to be honest my fish was only partially defrosted. I gently let the sauce warm up the fish carefully not cooking them, only warming them. These fish pieces are chunky so they were not going to flake or break down in anyway. I am using the Tesco Fish Pie Mix which has salmon, smoked haddock, white fish (http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=273389974).
The next thing I did was put the pan in the oven. I didn’t cook it right away because I had to clean up after the kids dinner, bath them and put them to bed. As it was getting nearer to my husband’s arrival I put the whole pan into the oven on low heat. I would probably say 100C for an 45 minutes to an hour. I checked it gave it a light stir, tasted it. And, thought oh my this is amazing. It taste better than take out and is so much healthier.
I was going to pop the Tilda brown rice into the microwave, but instead I only served it with garlic nan bread. We use the Waitrose brand in the refrigerator department. It is over by all of the exotic premade foods. This is by far the freshest and best tasting nan. It taste authentic.
When my husband arrived and we served up the three fish Kerala curry he said it was awesome. It was the best tasting curry he has ever had and that we should use this base for all of our curries. It was spicy, smooth- just right. It was the right blend of tomato and coconut. Not too sweet, not too spicy.
When you bite into the fish you taste the perfect marriage of Indian spices and slowly a little warming from the chili pepper. I can honestly say I am never going to order a take away on Friday night again! I think I have just saved us £30 a week learning how to make this dish on our own. Thank you so much, Sheba! @AbsoluteIndianC
We loved it so much we are going to make it again tonight. After all, once you have the majority of the spices in your cupboard the meal is very inexpensive. I still have one more packet of fish left in the freezer. I only need to get some more nan bread for tonight! Result!