Recipes >> Madras Mackerel Curry

Madras is the main city of southern India and because of its close proximity to the sea fish dishes are very popular. Southern Indian food tends to be spicier than that in the north.  This recipe uses unfilleted mackerel but for a less authentic version filleted fish may be substituted. 

 
25g (1 oz) block tamarind, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 onion – crushed or finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves – crushed about 1 teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted and ground, ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds dry roasted and ground, ½ teaspoon desiccated coconut, 4-5 curry leaves, 225 g (7 ½ oz) can tomatoes, 500g (1lb) mackerel, cleaned and cut into 5 cm (2inch) pieces, 1 green chili, deseeded and very finely chopped, salt.
 
To garnish: 
25 g (1oz) ghee or 2 tablespoons oil, 1 onion – chopped, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, coriander leaves piece of red chili. 
Break up the tamarind and soak in 125 ml (4 fl oz) boiling water for 10-15 minutes then press through a sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the pulp. 
 
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until light brown. Add the garlic, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, coconut and curry leaves. Fry gently for 30 seconds. Add the tamarind liquid and the tomatoes to the spices and simmer gently for 1 minute.
 
Carefully add the mackerel, then the chopped chili and salt. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes.  If necessary add a little water.
 
To garnish, heat the ghee or oil and fry the chopped onion until light brown. Add the cumin seeds and as soon as they begin to crackle, pour the mixture over the fish curry. Serve garnished with a piece of red chili and some coriander leaves, and serve at once with plain boiled rice. 
 
Serves 4.
 
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