Sri Lankan Swordfish Curry

(30 minutes, serves 2)

I’m trying to start eating fish a little more regularly again — when I lived alone, it was one of my standard proteins in rotation, but Kevin doesn’t like seafood (alas), and so I’ve gotten out of the habit.

But fish is so good for you, and I do love it, so I think I’m just going to start making it more often; thankfully, Kevin’s perfectly capable of feeding himself (and the kids) as needed. The kids also aren’t so used to fish as a result of all this, aside from fish fingers, which they do like, so I feel like I need to start just including fish on the family rotation. Tuna noodle casserole, perhaps, to ease them in.

But for me, it’s hard to beat a Sri Lankan fish curry. I did a quick weeknight version of this on Tuesday, and less than 30 minutes later, was sitting down to eat fish curry and uppuma. Yum.

I just made enough for a few meals for me, so this is a pared down amount, compared to my usual recipes which are typically intended to feed 4-6 people. Dinner, plus lunch at work today, plus dinner again tonight, probably with a vegetable added. I’m thinking broccoli varai.

1 lb. swordfish (or other firm whitefish, like tuna), cubed
2-3 T oil
1 onion, chopped
1 t. black mustard seed
1 t. cumin seed
1 T garlic/ginger paste (you could chop fresh, of course, which is even tastier, but we keep a jar of the paste in the fridge for ease on busy nights — find it in the Indian store, or locals, they have it at Pete’s)
1/2 t. cayenne
1 t. Sri Lankan curry powder
1 T lime juice
1 c. water

1 t. salt

1. Marinate swordfish with cayenne, curry powder, and lime juice — this will flavor the fish and also firm it up a bit. If you have time, marinating it for 20-30 minutes will add even more flavor, but it’ll be just fine if it just sits while you’re prepping the onions.

2. Sauté onions in oil on medium, stirring occasionally, with mustard seed, cumin seed, and garlic/ginger paste. (If you’re being fancy, you could also add in a 2-inch cinnamon stick, 2-3 cloves, 2-3 cardamom pods. And 6-12 fresh curry leaves are always welcome.)

3. When onions are golden-translucent (5-10 minutes), add marinated fish, water, and salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until fish is cooked through and liquid has reduced to a nice curry sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired — if it’s too spicy for you, a little coconut milk is always a nice addition.

4. Serve hot with rice, roti, pittu, uppuma, idli, or whatever grain your heart desires. If you’re making uppuma, you can do it in 5 minutes while the curry sauce is cooking down. Efficient! If you’re looking for an accompaniment, a bright mango pickle will go nicely.


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