Kadai Fish (or Chicken, Shrimp, or Paneer)

Whole spices – 1? piece of cinnamon, 3 cloves, 3 pods of green cardamom, a tiny piece of mace and 8-10 black pepper corns
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Dry bay leaf – 1-2
Red or green bell pepper – 1, de-seeded and cut into thick strips
Onions -1 large, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp (made from a 2? knob of ginger and 8-10 cloves of garlic)
Green chilies – 2-3, chopped
Tomato – 2 large ones, chopped
Fish – 1 lb, boneless and cut into chunks (any white fish will do)
Water – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Garam masala powder – a generous pinch
Fresh ginger – 1? piece, julienned, for garnish
Cilantro leaves – a few, for garnish

Dry roast the whole spices on low heat till they are fragrant, cool slightly and coarsely grind them in a mortar-pestle or spice grinder. Keep aside.

Dry roast the masala powders on low heat and keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai/wok and saute the bell peppers for a minute or two. They must be just cooked and not turn mushy. Remove and keep aside. We will add it to the curry only at the end so that they still retain their texture.

Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onions and saute till lightly golden.Then add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilies and saute till the raw smell goes away.

Add the tomatoes and saute till they turn mushy. Now add the ground whole spices and the roasted masala powders and saute for another minute. Add a cup of water and bring the gravy to a boil.

Add the fish pieces and mix lightly to coat well in the gravy. Season with salt, cover and simmer to cook the fish, maybe 5-7 minutes.

Open the lid and simmer further to thicken the gravy to your liking. Mix in the previously sauteed bell peppers, sprinkle garam masala powder on top and remove from heat.
Serve hot, garnished with thin slices of ginger and some torn cilantro leaves.
Variations:

You can use prawns, chicken or lamb instead of fish, though chicken and lamb will require a longer cooking time.
Try paneer or tofu for a vegetarian version.

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