Cooking Indian fish curry with British produce results in something truly remarkable. It is usually considered a complex task and an ingredient list can be extensive. It is also important to be very careful whilst cooking fish as your curry might mask the special qualities-its texture, colour and flavour. Because it is so easy to overcook delicate fish many people lack confidence before even attempting cooking fish at home.
I realised after I moved to Scotland its vast ocean was full of treasures. Seafood of Scotland in particular, is some of the best seafood in the world. Scottish salmon with few other seafood has secured the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status that ensures the traceability and sustainability of this world’s best-voted salmon. From Scottish hand-dived scallops, Arbroath smokies, creel caught Scottish langoustines and crisp lobster from the Isle of Sky there is a whole range of delicious seafood delicacies in Scottish clear waters.
You can find these delectable seafood places all across Scotland, from Ullapool in the North West where Scottish cold water combines with Atlantic warm stream and Isle of Seil in Argyll, to the fishing port of Crail in Fife. These special conditions make Scottish seafood the best in the world.
I grew up in North India where chefs like me have access to only 4-5 species of fish-Hilsa, singara, pomfret, kingfish and prawns mainly. It didn’t take me long to get fascinated by the abundance of seafood available to chefs in Britain. Indian spices when combined with local seafood available create a sensational curry. Sea bass, Monkfish, Sea Bream, Trout and Sweet Lobster compliment Indian spices tremendously well.
This is why I decided that I wanted to have Scottish seafood on Swadish menus simply because it is unique and delicious. Swadish believes in sustainability and innovation with authenticity. There is plenty of fish curry or appetiser options for Indian fish and seafood lovers. I have paired the best of Scottish fish and seafood with hand-made delectable spices to get the best out of them without overpowering the delicate flavour of the fish itself. It is such an important thing to remember whilst cooking a fish or a seafood recipe.
Before you decide to cook a fish curry at home, please pay extreme attention to a few other things such as:
How to Buy Freshest Fish
When buying fish bear in mind the fresher the better. You can ask your fishmonger where and when the fish was caught. Local and in-season fish taste the best. Buy from your local fishmonger as they normally do buy to sell to their local community instead of to businesses. Busy fishmongers will have the freshest fish and chances are that the fish has not been sitting for too long. Follow a few tips to ensure that you have the best fish for your fish curry.
Fish eyes must be bright and clear not dull.
Fresh fish smells of seawater, if it smells fishy it probably isn’t the freshest fish.
Press the flesh of the fish if it springs back firmly it is a good fish. If your finger leaves depression, walk away from it.
The skin should be bright and scaly without any discolouration.
Check under gills for a bright red if it’s dark, it isn’t fresh.
If buying mussels, oysters, clams and scallops check for any damages to the shell. Don’t buy if chipped. These should be alive and undamaged when buying.
Check for any bruising and damage to joints. Any blackening may mean they are not fresh.
Ask your fishmonger to fillet or clean for you as they are well equipped and trained to do this and they normally do not charge extra for this.
How to Store the Fish
Any fish cooked as soon as possible after buying reduces the risk of getting unwell. If you have to store your fish before you cook it, store it in an airtight plastic bag at around 0 Degree Celsius (32 Degree Fahrenheit). You will start to freeze your fish under these temperatures. If you need to freeze your fish make sure that you wrap your fish in a plastic bag or freezer-safe bag and store it in the coldest part of the freezer. You can freeze your freshest fish up to 3 months. Thaw your fish only in the fridge before using it.
If storing live shellfish remember it needs to breath. Do not wrap it in a plastic bag or submerge in water. They need to stay moist.
How to Clean Your Fish
Fish need scaling. To scale a fish you can buy fish descaler easily available online or simply place your fish on its side and use the back of your knife holding tail to scrape towards the head. To remove the gills, open the gill flap and gently pull the gills through the flap, then cut and discard. Trim off any fins with a sharp pair of scissors. To clean the gut of the whole fish, make a slit in the stomach and pull out all the entrails. Rinse with cold running water.
Fish Masala Curry Recipe
Ingredients for the marinade
500 g fish (Monkfish/Halibut/Turbot/Swordfish) filleted and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for sauce
4 tablespoons rapeseed/canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin Seeds
2 onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
4 tomatoes finely chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Water as required
How to Cook Your Masala For Fish Curry
In a bowl, combine all ingredients of marinade. Massage the fish of our choice thoroughly and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Start with oil in heavy-based skillet/non-stick pan, heat up oil and carefully drop your whole cumin.
Now add ginger and garlic paste and fry until the raw smell is gone. It will take about 3-4 minutes.
Drop your onions and fry cook them until they get brown tone, splash water if need to avoid overcooking or burning.
Add your powdered spices and cook them. Put your flame down for the time you are cooking powdered spices and splash water to avoid burning spices. Do not cook your powdered spices more than 2-3 minutes.
Now drop your chopped tomatoes in and put the flame on medium and cook the whole masala until tomatoes get pulpy. Now crush your dried fenugreek and sprinkle in your masala and stir it.
Add your fish pieces in your curry base and let your curry simmer until oil comes on the surface of curry.
Make sure your fish is cooked. Get a piece of fish out carefully with the help of a fork carefully and take a careful look by cutting it open and your fish must be flaky and opaque( undercooked fish will resist flaking).
Add chopped coriander. Your masala fish curry is ready to be served with rice or bread.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy cooking your favourite fish curry at home and if you would like to treat yourself or your loved ones with one of the best then Swadish is your place. Swadish has almost all of your favourite fish sitting on the main menu which has been carefully crafted using the best of Scottish fish and seafood supplied by the our local fishmonger.