Goan Fish Curry

Ingredients to serve 4

Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick
10g fresh ginger, peeled
7 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1-3 mild dried red chillies
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Half a teaspoon turmeric
Half a teaspoon garam masala
2 medium tomatoes, pureed
400ml coconut milk
450g firm white fish fillets, cut into large cubes
Salt, to taste, and lots of freshly ground black pepper

There are so many types of fish curries in Goa and this is one of the most popular ones. It delivers everything a curry should – layers of flavour, depth, tartness and a hint of sweetness from the onion and coconut. It is delicious and beautiful and lends itself to a variety of seafood and not just fish – try making it with prawns, mussels, clams or squid, if you wish. I sometimes add green chillies at the end for that added pungency and also for colour, but you can leave them out. While on the subject of chillies, most Indian stores sell packets of dried red chillies from different regions of India, each with a different heat. Ask them for something mild – I often opt for chillies from Kashmir. If you know you can't take the heat, you can add some red chilli powder to taste towards the end of cooking or a little paprika to mimic that peachy-red colour.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and, once they are popping, turn the heat down and add the onion and cinnamon. Cook the onion until golden, around 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a blender, make a fine paste of the ginger, garlic and chillies with 50ml water. Add this to the cooked onions along with the powdered spices. Cook until reduced, then fry over a low heat for 2 minutes or until the oil is released. Add the tomatoes and another 100ml water; cook until completely reduced and fry the paste for 4-5 minutes or until the oil comes out on top.

Stir in the coconut milk and 150ml water, bring to a gentle simmer and allow the flavours to marry and develop for 5 minutes. Add the fish and cook until done, around 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve.

Taken from 'Anjum's New Indian' by Anjum Anand (Quadrille, £20)

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