Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Sustainable Fish Curry

Since watching Australian Sustainable Seafood campaigner Matthew Evans present his SBS documentary “What’s The Catch” late in 2014 I’ve been especially vigilant about the source, the sustainability and the species of the seafood I buy and eat.

The laws in Australia state that all fresh fish sold must be labelled with the country of origin, but those same laws do not apply to fish sold in restaurants, cafes and take away food stores. During the making of this especially interesting 3 part program, it was found that many fish shop owners who sold boneless fish fillets as flake were ignorant of what species of shark meat they were selling, and where it had been caught. Testing proved that much of it was from species already under threat from the Asian shark fin industry.

Flake is the most popular fish sold battered and fried by fish and chip shops in my home state, the fish that had been my first choice for making curry up until then. The message from Matt Evans is clear, until we know without a doubt what species of shark we are eating, and where it was caught, we should say “no!”

An Australian Senate enquiry into fish labelling laws handed down it’s recommendations just prior to Christmas, and hopefully once parliament resumes after the summer break they will pass in to law mandatory labelling standards which will encompass menus, from the humble fish and chip shop to five star dining. Only then will consumers be able to make an informed decision about choosing sustainable wild caught seafood and fish farmed with little enviromental impact.

And so to fish curry.

Locally caught Spanish mackerel has become my new favourite choice of fish to turn into a curry. The flavour is a perfect complement to spices and it holds together in a light braise without falling apart.

Spanish mackerel is both local and sustainable.

Mackerel Kalia

750g Spanish mackerel fillet

2 tablespoons rice flour

4-6 tablespoons pungent mustard oil (available from Indian grocery stores)

5 cm cinnamon stick

5 cardamom pods, cracked

4 cloves

4 cassia leaves (Indian bay)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

7cm piece root ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon crushed dried chilli

500ml natural yoghurt

2 green chillis, finely sliced

Cut the fish off the coarse skin and cut into large bite sized chunks. Toss the fish n the rice flour.

Heat 4 tablespoons of mustard seed in a large sauce pan then fry the fish in batches until well coloured on all sides.

Drain on crumpled kitchen paper.

Add more oil if necessary, reheat then add the whole spices and toast until aromatic.

Add the ginger, garlic and ground spices and stir over the heat for a couple of minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the yoghurt, stirring continuously to prevent it from splitting. Once all the yoghurt has been added, bring the sauce to the boil, return the fish to the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Stir in the green chillis, taste the sauce and season.

Serve immediately.

Adapted from The Food of India, a Murdoch publication

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

23 comments on “Sustainable Fish Curry

  1. missfoodfairy
    April 4, 2015

    Great fish curry Sandra I haven’t tried Spanish Mackerel before, did you get that from Vic Markets? How amazing was the Sustainable Seafood doco by Matthew Evans! There were a lot of points I now have no qualms asking my fish monger (at Vic Market) about where all the seafood comes from. Thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      April 5, 2015

      Yes, mackerel from Vic market is delicious, and usually reasonably priced although it is creeping north..

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Chinese Fish Fry. Everyone’s Friday Favourite. | ALMOST ITALIAN

  3. Margot @ Gather and Graze
    March 26, 2015

    Great post Sandra and an important issue to promote and discuss! I’ll definitely have to track down the handy app that you’ve mentioned – actually could have used it today when buying seafood for a soup I’m making tonight! Your curry sounds really lovely… I’m keen to try out a wider range of curries on the kids these days – they’re finally getting there and enjoying a little more heat and spice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      Seafood is so expensive it’s difficult not to choose the cheap imports to avoid a budget blow out, but I hope the affect of the recent frozen berry scare might flow on to other foods as well and make consumers more aware. Kids often have a mental barrier to spices, expecting everything to burn their tongue, good luck

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My Kitchen Witch
    March 25, 2015

    The fish here in the UK is also listed by country of origin. We are lucky that we have access to good UK mackerel which is a marvellous oily fish – so good for you. I don’t think I’ve seen a mackerel curry before, so this one gets bookmarked. Francesca is right, it is a robust fish that would stand up to the spices.


  5. tinywhitecottage
    March 25, 2015

    I really appreciate this post Sandra. Couldn’t agree with you more about the sustainability of the fish we are buying. This is a very interesting recipe. I have never had a fish curry before. And I have never had Spanish Mackerel either. I imagine it is incredible.


    • ladyredspecs
      March 25, 2015

      Mackerel has a strong flavour, dark fleshed and oily, making it perfect for curry. I’m sure there is an equivalent fished in US waters. I make a few different fish curries, all different but all equally enjoyable. I’m sure you’d be hooked once you tasted it


  6. Claudia Anderson
    March 25, 2015

    I am re-entering the world of curry, and your recipe sounds divine. I tried curry dishes in restaurants, but they are all so blah and weird in their spices. I am going to try this version — at least I know the person who makes it likes it!


    • ladyredspecs
      March 25, 2015

      Thanks Claudia, it’s quite a subtle curry, clean clear flavours, enjoy. Only just finished reading your disclaimer post…. I’ll put more there!


  7. Eha
    March 25, 2015

    Sandra – thank you so much for drawing the attention of your readers to Matthew Evans’ great three-parter: so many of ‘our own’ are not even aware of the presentation. Perchance a few more will be added thanks to you. And you have put it so succinctly!!! Love fish curries but have taken down your recipe and it will be prepped by the weekend . . . . sugar, these days half my ‘to do’ file on the kitchen shelf is getting to be ‘Please pass the recipe ‘ . . . 🙂 !


    • ladyredspecs
      March 25, 2015

      Really? i hope you enjoy the recipes when you get to make them, i certainly enjoy posting them on the blog! Thanks for your loyal dedication to PPTR


      • Eha
        March 25, 2015

        🙂 !!!! Yes, Sandra, really!!!!!!


  8. StefanGourmet
    March 25, 2015

    I’d never have thought to cook fish with yogurt. Very interesting!


  9. Fae's Twist & Tango
    March 25, 2015

    Very interesting view/story. I’m not much into fish, but I sure do love curries. I can use the recipe for chicken. 🙂


  10. cheergerm
    March 24, 2015

    Great post Mrs R! Educational and a delicious looking curry! Go the mackerel. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Francesca
    March 24, 2015

    This curry looks sensational.

    Spanish Mackeral is so perfect for a curry- it stands up to the spices and gravy and keeps it’s shape so well too. I became a fan of this fish when I did a brief cooking course at Janet de Kneefe’s in Ubud, where she also uses Spanish Mackeral ( tengirri) for curries.

    I haven’t noticed much change filtering through the fish shops and restaurants since that programme was aired. There are also other sites that list sustainable fish by State, so that what’s good in one state of Australia, may not be in another.


    • ladyredspecs
      March 25, 2015

      Have you seen the sustainable Fish Seafood Guide App, it’s a handy guide for your phone…


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This entry was posted on March 24, 2015 by in FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Main Meals and tagged , , .
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