I am so excited about this dish that it borders on the insane. For years, literally years, I’ve had this fabulous Indian cookbook full of tantalizing photos and gorgeous recipes that I’ve been unable to use, simply because of one elusive spice blend…garam masala. Garam masala is a mixture of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mace, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, and bay leaves.
Phew, allow me catch my breath.
Anyway, garam masala is called for in practically every recipe in this cookbook and I couldn’t find it anywhere! That is, until I came upon one of my favorite stores, the truly marvelous Rani’s World Foods, an international-style grocery store in Northwest Houston. They have an entire aisle of freshly ground Indian spices, so I was finally able to stock up on some garam masala, as well as tons of other spices. Trust me, there will be a whole post dedicated to my adventures at Rani’s very soon. That place is beyond amazing.
So, with my beloved garam masala in hand, I set out to finally make a recipe from this cookbook, choosing Fish with Indian Yogurt Sauce. What’s so great about this dish is the fact that it can be adjusted to your tastes. If you want things nice and spicy, leave in all the chili seeds. If you want things a bit more mild, just leave ‘em out. Either way, it’s incredibly delicious.
To start off, chop up a nice chunk of ginger.
Then chop up some green chilis, which to me means jalapeños. Lots of jalapeños. Again, if you want to amp up the spice, you can use serranos instead.
Next comes some finely chopped garlic.
Then a bunch of chopped onion.
Toss the onions in a large pan and sauté until soft and slightly browned.
Grab a lovely mixture of cumin, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric.
At this point, you’ll realize that you were just talking to a spice. If you’re like me, you may consider the idea of getting out more.
While you plan a much-needed social outing, add the spices, garlic, and chilies to the pot.
Give that a good stir and grab a handful of the ridiculously delicious spicy cashews that you bought at Rani’s and have a little snack. Cooking works up an appetite!
Next comes the yogurt.
Please be advised that I ended up using a lot more yogurt than this. It all depends on how thick you want the sauce. That being said, add the yogurt to the pot and give it a stir.
See, at this point I thought the sauce was definitely not creamy enough. So, besides adding more yogurt, I also added a few splashes of half-and-half to thin it out a bit.
See? That’s much more what I was looking for, seeing as I was going to serve it over rice, which I wanted to have lots of yummy sauce to absorb.
Now all that’s left is the fish! Toss it in, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the fish is flaky.
And there you have it! Incredibly easy, incredibly yummy Indian food.
Grab yourself some garam masala and get cooking!
Fish with Indian Yogurt Sauce
Recipe adapted from “Fish in Yogurt Sauce” from The Food of India
2 pounds skinless, firm white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod
3 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 cups thick, plain yogurt
few splashes of half-and-half, to taste
4 green chilies, finely chopped
cilantro leaves, for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the fish fillets into two pieces and pat them dry, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly browned. Add the ginger, garlic, and spices, stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the yogurt, half-and-half, and green chilies, then bring to a gentle boil. Season with a bit of salt, then cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
Add the pieces of fish and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through. Don’t overcook the fish or the fish will give off liquid and split the sauce.
Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.