I like my fish steamed or stewed for the succulent texture that is preserved. Sometime lightly fired with a crisp crust and moist interiors. Stewing the fish in coconut milk base is the easiest and yummiest way to enjoy fish anytime at my place. You know well I love spending lesser time on the stove, although chopping the greens and vegetables is not a problem for me. You might find it strange but it's true that I am not scared of chopping garlic or onion, provided there is time. For this stewed fish in coconut milk with accentuated peppery flavors too I decided to shop and slice a few ingredients and stir fry them before stewing them with the fish steaks. The picture is from last year and was not posted somehow but now that I made it again using a fillet of sea bass, I was reminded of how so much better it tasted with a steak of Rohu last time. And I dug out the pictures to share.
4 large steaks of Rohu or any large fresh water fish (approximately 600-800 gm)
sliced onions 1.5 cup (about 200 gm)
slit green and red chilies, use the sweeter ones for more flavor and lesser heat, 3-4 nos.
(jalapeno is great, use more chilies and remove seeds from most of them)
ginger cut in this strips (julienne) 1-2 tbsp (to taste)
slit garlic cloves 4-5
curry patta springs 6-7 or 1/4 cup leaves
whole black pepper corns 1 tbsp
white pepper powder 1/2 tsp
sesame oil 1 tbsp
coconut milk 200 ml or a little more (thick and creamy is better)
salt to taste
Rub a little salt on the fish steaks and rest side for 5-10 minutes till you prepare the other things.
Heat the oil in a wide thick bottom pan and tip in the black pepper corns first and then immediately the ginger and garlic and then the onions and slit green and red chilies in succession. Toss and cook till the onions and ginger-garlic start turning brown on the edges. Lightly caramelising while they cook.
Now add the curry patta too and mix and cook for a couple of minutes, add salt. Slide all the cooked onions and ginger-garlic-chilly mixture on the side of the pan and place the fish steaks in the middle, directly touching the hot greased pan. Place some cooked onion on top of the fish fillet and pour coconut milk gently in the hot pan.
You might like to take the pan off heat while doing it to avoid curdling of coconut milk. Add the white pepper powder, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
The Jalapeno peppers bring another dimension to this stew so don't miss adding them. If these are not available try using green and red bell peppers. The sweetness of chilly and mild heat of the black pepper corns is the flavors that shines through the coconut milk stew. The caramelised onions provide depth to it. Curry patta is the earthy flavor to sum up.
Some coriander greens will be good if you don't get curry patta, or even some bay leaves for the earthy flavors.
Fish comes out melt in the mouth texture. Soaked up with some appam or hot boiled rice , it makes a lovely meal.
Now that it is winter and hot stews and soups are in much demand. Chicken also cooks well in the stew and sometimes I just make a potatoes stew like this and add halved boiled eggs in the last. Very versatile if you want some add-ons in this stew..