I am often asked to recommend a substitute for fish curry powder. But I really can’t think of one. I suppose curry powder to Singaporeans is like garam masala to Indians. It’s just a blend of spices that lends itself very well to certain dishes. Every self-respecting Indian and Malay household in Singapore would stock the 3 staple masala blends. Fish Curry powder, Meat Curry powder and Chilli powder. 3 matching empty jars for your masala powders are probably the most common house-warming gift!
If you could really be bothered, I don’t think there’s anything stopping you from looking at the ingredient list on the back of a pack of fish curry powder and constructing your blend. I for one, am very happy with my stock of Baba’s Spicy Fish Curry Powder. There are other brands out there, but Baba’s is probably the most common.
In the olden days, there would be curry powder stalls in the wet markets, and you would have to let the owner know what you’re cooking that day and the weight of the produce and she would mix up a blend of spices for you.
|Photo Credit: CNNGO|
I haven’t seen these stalls in years; I guess they’ve been replaced by companies such as Baba’s. Baba’s products are alot cheaper in Singapore obviously, and I stock up whenever I’m in town. But they’re also readily available here in Melbourne in most Asian grocery stores. If you’re lucky, your local Indian spice store would also have them.
In this recipe, I’ve paired red snapper with green mangoes in a spicy south Indian curry.
Marinade fish in the following ingredients for about an hour:
- 1 whole snapper or snapper fillets (sliced into 1 inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons Spicy Baba’s Fish Curry Powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
For the curry you’ll need:
- 4 to 5 small pieces green mango (I used frozen)
- 1 medium white onion (sliced finely)
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced finely)
- 1 inch garlic (peeled and sliced finely)
- 2 green chillies (halved)
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes (I used canned)
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 teaspoons tamarind paste (I use Priya brand)
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 1 and half teaspoons of red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Spicy Baba’s Fish Curry Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- Pinch of hing
- Salt to taste
- Gingelly oil
Heat about 1/2 inch depth of oil in a small pot. Add a pinch of salt to the marinated fish and stir well. Fry fish on both sides. Fish doesn’t need to cook through. Just brown and crisp up slightly. Remove fish from oil. Set aside.
In the same oil, add sliced onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies and stir well. Add a pinch of salt. Cook until onion is soft. Push onion aside, in the remaining oil, add a pinch of hing, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start popping add curry leaves, turmeric powder, chilli powder and fish curry powder and stir well.
Add tomatoes and tomato puree and cover pot. Allow to cook on low heat. Remove lid, add mango pieces. Cover and cook until mango pieces are soft. Remove lid. Add hot water and tamarind paste. Stir well and check for seasoning – I like it extra sour and spicy at this stage, the flavours will mellow down when the fish is added. After this stage you can’t stir the gravy, so make sure you’re happy with it before adding the fish.
Add fish pieces, place lid back on and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add chopped coriander. Serve with hot rice, Enjoy!