Ever since we came to the USA, we always visited Golam Produce Market in Ann Arbor to buy our favorite Kolkata fishes. The quality of the fishes, hilsa, koi, katla, pabda, rohu, tyangra, and the like, sold at Golum is excellent. In fact, the of quality and freshness of the fishes sold at Golam surpasses the standard of that of Kolkata. However, recently I don't know what happened, the owner, who was a middle-aged man from Bangladesh, sold the business to a man from Middle East. Now I have little idea if people in the Middle East eat fishes and even if they do, they surely don't devour the same variety of fishes that we Bengalis do. That I was not wrong in my assumption was proven this time when I visited Golam with the new owner at the helm. When I asked for hilsa, the new owner, to my amusement, pointed in the direction of some giant pomfrets, the size I have never seen earlier, making it evident that he didn't have any idea of hilsa or how it looks like. As I became sad worrying if the new owner was going to supply the same quality fishes sold by the previous owner and was contemplating to make a quick run out of the shop, I was moved by the hospitality of the new owner and his team. To the best of their efforts, they set to searching for the fishes I asked for in their inventory, and save for hilsa and koi, they got me rohu, pabda, and tyangra. They also had other variety of fishes such as white fish, kingfish, and red snapper, but since these three types of fishes are not commonly consumed in West Bengal, I have little familiarity with them. However, once in Goa, I had an awesome red snapper curry and though a few times I tried to cook red snapper at home following the style of cooking fishes observed in Kolkata, those undertakings did not turn out satisfactory. So I was in search of a good recipe of red snapper, and I found the recipe of Red Hot Chili Fish Curry at NDTV by Joey Matthew. Though the original dish was prepared using coconut oil, I used white oil in preparing mine. Also, I tried to avoid adding too much chili powder into my dish. I used two teaspoons of chili powder instead of two tablespoons. I also boiled and ground the kokum.
- 1 kg red snapper (steak cut)
- 2 medium size onions (julienned)
- 5-6 green chilies (slit in the middle)
- 2 tsp of red chili powder (you can add more if you want)
- 7-8 kokum (boil in microwave for 2 minutes and grind into paste)
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- 5-6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- salt to taste
- White oil for cooking
- 1/2 tsp methi or fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 10-12 curry leaves
1. Heat oil in a wok. When the oil is heated enough, add the ingredients for saute and wait till they splutter. Add garlic and ginger and fry till they begin to change color.
2. Add onion and on medium heat, fry the onions till onions turn golden red in color.
3. Add chili powder and kokum paste. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add small amount of water (about 1/3 cup) and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat to let the spices blend into a nice flavor.
4. Add 3 cups of water and salt. Bring the gravy to a boil. Add the fishes, green chilies and cover with a lid.
5. Cook covered for 10 minutes on medium heat until fishes are cooked through.
6. Turn the heat off and serve hot with steamed rice.