Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Swai or Basa Fish in a Curry Leaves and Tomato gravy

Fish Curry with Tomatoes and Curry Leaves

This Indian Fish Curry recipe with Basa fish is our favorite. It has a strong flavor of methi seeds and kari patta and is delicious in a tomatoe-y gravy

The Swai Fish or Basa has become recently very popular here. They are from the catfish family and are mostly farmed in Vietnam. There are plenty of debates about fish like Basa and Tilapia as the "catfish war" goes on and it is up to you to decide whether you want to eat these farmed fishes or go for the more expensive wild salmon.

When I first had this fish at a friend's home, I really liked it as I felt that the Swai/Basa has a texture which complements the Indian gravy very well. It goes well with a mustard based curry, a coconut based one or the regular onion-ginger-garlic curry. My girls however did not take to this fish but me and D would enjoy it now and then.

And then one day I made this fish with tomatoes and curry leaves. Big Sis is a huge curry leaves fan and she liked it so much that she will now have Swai/Basa when cooked in this particular gravy. Now this gravy has nothing to do with Swai in particular and tastes as well if you are using filet of salmon or even any other white fish. Try it and I am sure you will like it.

For 3 filet of swai/basa in standard size. You can also use salmon or any other white fish like cod.

Wash the fish filet and pat them dry. Now cut the fish filet in cubes ~ 2" x 3". I think I had about 8-9 pieces

Dust the fish with turmeric powder, salt and then add 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss the fish pieces gently.

Now ideally the fish should have been fried but I don't do that. Too much work. Instead do this.

Put all the fish pieces in a single layer on a baking tray and put in the oven to "Broil". Now depending on your oven the time to broil the fish until it is golden will vary. It takes about 20-25 minutes in my toaster oven while in the conventional oven it is done in 10-15 minutes.
Note: With swai a lot of water is releases on baking so make sure that the fish is spaced out in a single layer on the baking tray.

For making the gravy, the most important thing you need is Tomato Paste. It gives a great color to the gravy. While the fish cooks in the oven, you can actually proceed with the gravy.

Make a paste of
1 large red juicy tomato
2 green chilli
1/2" ginger

Now heat Mustard Oil in a wok. I have also done this gravy in Olive Oil and sunflower oil.

Temper the oil with
5-6 Curry Leaves(Kari Patta),
1/4th tsp of Whole Methi seeds
1 Dry Red Chilli

When the seeds pop add
1/2 tsp of garlic paste
1 tbsp of Tomato Paste from can (like this one)
the tomato-chilli paste you made

Fry for a minute or so.

Now add
1 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch
a pinch of Turmeric powder

Fry the tomato paste until the raw smell is gone and you see the oil seeping around the edges. Around 6-7 minutes.

1 tsp of Coriander powder
1/2 tsp of sugar

Sprinkle a little water and fry for a minute

Now add about 1 Cup of water, salt to taste and let the gravy simmer to a boil

When the gravy is simmering, taste and see if everything is right. If sugar or salt is needed adjust at this point.

Now add the broiled pieces of fish to the gravy and let it simmer for couple more minutes.

Garnish with few curry leaves and serve with rice

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  1. eta aar mach diye banaleo ki bhalo lagbe? tomar book e ekta tomar mayer fish in tomato curry chilo..ota ekdin baniyechilam..durdanto khete...infact amar baba tar kichudin age ICU te admit chilen, kichu khete parchilen..kintu jedin oi macher jhol ta banalam khub tripti kore khelen. ..Thank you for the recipe to both you and your Mom

  2. i have just cooked this recipe as per the instructions given above with basa fillets and OMG! it tastes awesome. i am not a fish lover but i just loved it, just waiting for the brown rice to get cooked. Thanks for sharing the recipe...

  3. Great recipe. Although would prefer using natural ingredients instead of ready tomato paste. Can you tell how can it be substituted? Also, if I do want to fry the fish instead of broiling, how do I fry it?

    1. Use pureed tomato. Fry the fish in hot oil


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