Caldinho de Peixe

Source: Indian Recipes Under 30 Minutes
Date: December 21, 2017
Yield: 4-6 servings
Time needed:30 minutes

This recipe is a good reminder that in Indian culture “curry” is not a spice, nor even the blend of spices we call curry powder. It is a type of cooking. A curry is a stew using meat, fish, chicken or vegetables in a spiced sauce. The spices may or may not include curry leaves or a curry powder blend. They may or may not provide the flavour we associate with curry powder.

In this dish the flavours that stand out are cumin and coriander with a hint of coconut in the coconut milk sauce base, and the author describes it as “fish in a light coconut milk curry”.

I confess I did not go out and get a fresh coconut to grind up with water to provide the coconut milk. I used a can of coconut milk. So I had to guess at the quantities. I also expect it was nowhere near as thick as thick coconut milk obtained from the first grinding.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the dish and my only objection is that white fish in a white sauce served with white rice made for a colourless meal. And that reminds me, I am not familiar with the fish named in the recipe and do not know if they would have added colour. I used the white fish fillets I had on hand in the freezer.

Caldinho de Peixe

Caldinho de Peixe
500 gm/1 lb. fish (pomfret or seer), sliced
200 gm/2 cups coconut, grated
175 ml/1 1/2 cups warm water
1 gm/1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 gm/1 tsp cumin seeds
6 gm/1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp uncooked rice
6 cloves/1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 green chilies, one chopped the other two slit
30 ml/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar

Wash the fish. Apply 1 tsp. salt and keep aside.

Grind the coconut with turmeric powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, uncooked rice, chopped garlic , chopped chili pepper and chopped onion and 1/2 cup warm water to extract a thick spicy coconut milk.

Grind the coconut again with 1 cup warm water to extract a thin, spicy coconut milk. Keep thick and thin sauces separate.

Heat oil in a pan, add sliced onion and sauté 3 minutes until soft.
Add the thin coconut milk, salt and sugar and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the fish and the two slit chili peppers and cook for 5 minutes, until done. (Shake the pan to mix, do not stir.)

Add the vinegar and the thick coconut milk. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Do not let mixture boil.

Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately over hot steamed rice.

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