A Family Recipe


by Sonia Deasy, Pestle & Mortar


I have decided to share out one of my favourite recipes – this dish ticks all the boxes for me. The boxes that I need ticked these days are:

-All my children eat it
-Not much equipment required (translation: minimal washing up)
-Looks as though I made a huge effort


In my house, we call this recipe ‘fish curry’. The name, I know, is a bit generic, but I think my siblings would say that I was being pretentious if I dressed it up! So Fish Curry it is and Fish Curry it shall remain.

Food evokes memories for me, and my memory of this dish is that it is one of two main dishes that my father could produce better than my mother. (I say ‘main dishes’ because he is the master of chutneys and pickles and he would want this to be known). I can’t supply the recipe for his other dish as it was a weird concoction of rice, turmeric and whatever was in the fridge, so I hope you enjoy this one! It is an aromatic Northern Indian fish curry which is packed with nutrition and which awakens the taste buds with the pungent flavor of carom seed.

Another thing I have to say about this recipe (and all my recipes in fact!), is that it can be scaled up and down easily and is quite forgiving. I get frustrated with recipes for four – so frustrated in fact, that I’m considering writing a compilation of recipes that feed families of six and over!

Fish Curry – 6 people


-Skinless boneless cod fillet (or any firm white fish) 1.4 kg
-Garlic, minced 4/5 cloves
-Green chillies, chopped 2
-Ajwain (lovage/carom seed) 1 tsp
-Cumin seeds 1 tsp
-Coriander seeds 1 tsp
-Turmeric 1 tsp
-Salt 1 tsp
-Natural Yoghurt 4 tbsp
-Tinned tomatoes 200g
-Fresh tomato, chopped 1
-Sunflower oil 3 tbsp

To garnish:

-Garam masala (preferably freshly ground by my Dad!)
-Fresh coriander


























Grind tinned tomatoes and yoghurt together to form a smooth paste. I use a little blender to do this. Pound the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar (or just buy pre-ground!). Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy based wide saucepan or wok with a lid. Add garlic and green chilli and fry until garlic turns lightly golden. Add carom seed, cumin and coriander and fry until aroma is released (approx. 1 minute). Throw in tomato/yoghurt mix and the fresh chopped tomato – be careful of tomato splutter at this stage! Add turmeric and salt and stir. Put the lid on the saucepan, turn heat down to medium low and let this mixture simmer for 10/15 minutes. Gently place cod pieces in the sauce, put the lid back on and cook for approx. 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Garnish with garam masala and chopped fresh coriander and serve with plain basmati rice and yoghurt!

Hope you enjoy!
Sonia x


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