Curries are some of the easiest most flavorful dinners you can make-and they’re incredibly versatile!
Sometimes when I’m stuck and can’t dredge up any dinner ideas I fall back to my roots and make a curry. I simple pick a protein from my freezer and rummage through the vegetable drawer until I find something that I feel will fit.
Today’s curry is a fish and eggplant curry (because yes, that’s what I happened to have). I wanted a super quick dinner so I chose eggplant instead of potatoes because it cooks faster! (Okay and I didn’t want the eggplant to do bad-it was already waiting around for a while).
Depending on what region of South Asia you’re from, the bases of the curry will almost always be the same-onion and garlic. For fish curries the base is usually blended before frying in a bit of oil. Then once it develops some color, add your spices.
There are a few classic spices that are usually used in curries: turmeric, coriander, cumin, and red chili powder. However in fish curries my mother only ever uses turmeric and red chili because it helps bring out the flavor of the ingredients rather than smother it.
So, once you add your spices and they’re toasted after a minute, add water to make a thick gravy. Be sure to watch it closely because blended onions burn easily. Add your fish and eggplant and let it simmer (covered) until cooked through.
Seafood curries cook very quickly compared to chicken or beef. If you use a vegetable that takes some time to cook, like potatoes, then you add the vegetable in first and let it simmer until almost cooked through. Then add your fish and let them finish cooking together. Because I use eggplant they can be cooked at the same time. 🙂
Always top your fish curries with cilantro (unless you’re one of those cilantro tastes like soap people…if that’s the case-my condolences, that sucks). Serve it with some fresh fluffy rice to soak up the gravy and smoosh the fish into and enjoy!
- 6 tilapia fillets, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 onion, blended
- 5 cloves garlic, blended
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 Chinese eggplant, cut about the same size as fish pieces
- 1-2 cups water
- Cilantro for garnish
1. Heat oil in a pot on medium high heat and add in blended onion and garlic
2. Mix and cook for a few minutes until color develops-watch so it does not burn
3. Add spices and cook for an additional minute until toasted
4. Pour in 1 cup of water and mix to make the gravy
5. Add in fish and eggplant and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes until both are cooked through**
6. Garnish with cilantro and serve with fluffy white rice
* Red chili powder used in South Asian cooking is unique-made using small, spicy dried chilies. I use half red chili powder and half paprika so it’s not too spicy. That way my kids can enjoy it too while it still has the right color! 🙂
** Depending on how much water has evaporated and how thick you want your gravy you can add more water if you prefer.