As I sat through my umpteenth screening of the esteemed love triangle, I felt a sudden pang hit me. No, I could swear it wasn’t butterflies in my stomach as Shahrukh and Kajol romanced around trees. It was something much greater, much more dignified. A quick glance at the clock, and my fears were confirmed. Yes, hunger pangs, that’s what they were! But I was too into the better half of the movie to trot into the kitchen and make myself a bite. Then, like any miracle that never fails to take your breath away, I heard the all-too-famous tune crop up in the background. Yes! The two love birds were about to break into a song-and-dance number. Thank goodness for good ‘ol Bollywood movies where love is not love until the fat lady (or in Bollywood’s case, anyone) sings!
Okay then, so I had myself five minutes to fix me up a meal or worse yet, work through one, considering how long it would take the two to declare their love through sweet melody. With only a few minutes to spare, I had to pace myself well. Whatever I was going to do had to be fast, and with the use of as limited ingredients as possible. A quick peek into my fridge and I knew just what I wanted! It was perfect. I was sure I could wing it. I would do the chopping as the fish sat in a quick marinade. Then I would let it rest and do it’s own thing until the next song, which as per my calculation, should come up in the next ten minutes. Perfect. Just perfect.
Speaking of perfection, this Malay-inspired fish curry is definitely one of my favourites. So much so, that it was sure to be on the menu when ever I would come home for the holidays during my days in college. With just a few ingredients, and even lesser of an effort, it’s amazing how wonderfully delicious this dish is. Trust me, you’ll want to make extra since no one, and I mean NO ONE, can resist asking for seconds!
Coming back to the meal at stake, just as expected, I was about to sprint back into the kitchen after 10 minutes and continue with the cooking process. Another movie break while it simmered, and by the time Shahrukh broke into another jig, I served myself a big bowl. Now, who ever said multi-tasking was hard to achieve, definitely never tried it my way!
HOT & SOUR FISH CURRY
Prep time: 15 min | Cooking time: 20-25min | Serves: 2
boneless salmon fillets (or any other fish of choice), cut into 1-inch cubes
shallots, finely sliced
garlic cloves, finely sliced
green chillies, chopped
red chilli powder
light cooking oil
fresh coriander, finely chopped for garnish
salt, to taste
MARINADE fish with 1/4 tsp each of turmeric and red chilli powder, and a pinch of salt.
FRY marinated fish in a non-stick pan till lightly browned on all sides. Set aside.
ADD mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and garlic to the existing oil in the pan and allow to sizzle. There should already be enough oil remaining in the pan to complete the cooking process, but feel free to add more if need be. Add in sliced shallots and let brown slightly.
TOSS in chopped tomato, salt, turmeric, chilli powder and tamarind paste and stir-fry for a few minutes till tomato being to pulp. Add water and fried fish, cover with lid and let it come to boil. Continue to cook for a few more minutes till fish has soaked in all the flavours. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve warm over rice.
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