Lagniappe – Never Have I Ever

Never have I ever made Fish Curry.  But our daughter’s San Francisco neighbor Meghna Agarwal teaches Indian cooking classes ( and served this recently. Because we just finished the last episode of Never Have I Ever on Netflix, it seemed like the perfect time to try the recipe.

If you haven’t watched that series yet, do!  It’s right for this moment.  Funny, thoughtful, poignant, relevant.  This story of a first-generation Indian-American 15-year-old girl is co-produced by Mindy Kaling from The Office and The Mindy Project.  There is a voice-over from John McEnroe.  Yes, white, male, tennis player, 61-year-old John McEnroe. Hysterical.

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Mindy Kaling

Meghna used a recipe from Meherwan Irani, and I adapted it a little.  Irani is an Indian-born chef who has four James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast.  His first restaurant was Chai Pani in Asheville, North Carolina.

Bet you’re going to love ’em both – the TV series and the curry!

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Goan Fish Curry

Goan Fish Curry

Note: To make this recipe fast and easy, you can skip the toasting and grinding of the spices – just use ground pepper, ground coriander, and ground cumin  – it just won’t be as authentic.  If you happen to have Kashmiri chile powder, use that instead of the cayenne and paprika.  That will be MORE authentic.  And, yes, it’s spicy.  Adapted from Meherwan Irani

  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, about 1 1/2 c, diced
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns  (or 3/4 tsp ground pepper)
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds (or 2 rounded tsps ground coriander)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 rounded tsp ground cumin)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne – or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk (about 13 oz)
  • 1 T tamarind paste  – or replace it with 1-2 T lime juice
  • 1 lb firm white fish cut into 2″ pieces
  • Salt and turmeric to rub onto the fish before cooking – just a dusting, enough to coat evenly.
  • 10-12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 T Diamond kosher salt (that’s the maximum amount you’ll use in the whole recipe)
  • 1 fresh lime
  • rice for serving and cilantro for garnish

Toast peppercorns, coriander, and cumin in a medium hot pan on high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Let cool. Grind the toasted spices in a coffee/spice grinder or blender, then mix in the cayenne, paprika, and turmeric.  Add a bit of water – just enough to make the spices into a paste.

Heat oil in the same pan; add onion and fry on medium-high heat until translucent.  Add the spice paste and garlic to the onions and 1 tsp of the salt.  Also add the curry leaves, if you have them.  Continue to fry over low heat until the onions are golden-ish brown.

Add the coconut milk and stir well to incorporate. Bring the coconut milk to a boil and then add 1/2 c of hot water and the tamarind paste (or lime juice).

Add in fish (which has been sprinkled with turmeric and salt) and simmer until the fish is just flaky (about 4 minutes). Add more salt to taste.

Serve over rice with a sprig of cilantro and squeeze of fresh lime.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

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