As I watched this dish being cooked in Pondicherry, I thought it was the perfect recipe for our own cod; you could also try it with pollock, haddock or hake. Another simple, fresh and fragrant curry from southern India, and, as I’m rather too fond of saying, if we could get fish dishes like this anywhere, everyone would love fish.
For the paste
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
80g fresh or frozen coconut, grated or chopped
30g/6 cloves garlic, peeled
9 dried Kashmiri chillies, stalks snipped off
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1½ tsp salt
For the fish
50ml vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp urid dal (husked)
2 tsp turmeric
600g cod fillet (or pollock/haddock/hake), cut into 4cm slices
Handful of fresh curry leaves
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
Boiled basmati rice and Chapatis
Put all the paste ingredients in a mini food processor and blend to a thick paste, adding a splash of water if needed.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and urid dal and fry for 30 seconds, then add the paste and the turmeric, and fry for 2–3 minutes until fragrant. Add the water, bring to the boil then add the cod. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through, occasionally shaking the pan gently to distribute the heat (avoid using a utensil to stir as the fish is delicate and will break up).
Finally add the curry leaves and coriander to the pan and serve with rice and Indian bread.