This hearty stew uses traditional Indian flavors – coriander, cumin, mustard, turmeric, cayenne – to warm the palate, but lacks much of the intense heat of some Indian cuisine. This preparation is relatively delicate, and tastes best on the day it is prepared. Serve it over rice for a complete one-dish meal.
You will need:
- 1 1/4 lbs. white fish, such as halibut, cod, or rockfish, cut into 2″ cubes
- 2 medium russet potatoes, cut into the same size as the fish
- vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 2 small serrano chilies, quartered length-wise
- 3-4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 cup water
- a 15-oz. can of coconut milk; I find that this is worth paying for – thinner, “low-fat,” or cheap varieties will provide cheap results
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar will also work)
1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a soup pot over medium heat, and saute the onion until golden. Add the turmeric and stir to coat the onions.
2. Toss in the potatoes, chilies, garlic, and ginger, and stir until the potatoes are coated in the oil, around 2 or 3 minutes.
3. Add the water and 1/2 tsp. salt and bring the entire mixture to a boil. Cook around 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
4. Add the coconut milk, the fish cubes, and another 1/4 tsp. salt. Let the entire stew simmer, but don’t bring it to a full boil. Cook only until the fish is opaque and springy to the touch – about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the vinegar and let the stew sit for a few minutes before serving.
Note – if you really want to reduce the heat of this dish, remove the serranos after the potatoes are cooked. However, pepper bellies may want to consider grinding an extra serrano and tossing it in as a paste to boost the heat. Be advised, however, that too much extra zing may overpower the delicate flavor of the fish. The vinegar in this dish creates a lovely balance with the curry flavors that you won’t want to miss.