When I was growing up, we ate a fair bit of kingfish (which are large, oily, sea fish, also known as king mackerel), either fried or in various curries. My personal favourite is kingfish in kozhambu (a tamarind curry), which is even better the day after. In the UK, however, I rarely come across kingfish, and even if I do, it’s frozen not fresh.
Nevertheless, I was feeling nostalgic this week, and bought some frozen kingfish at the Indian store, and cooked it in a “Bengali-inspired” mustard curry to celebrate the start of the long weekend. You can use any firm white fish. If it’s fresh, you can skip the marinating and frying below, and instead just put the cleaned fillets in the sauce and allow it to simmer until it’s cooked through. And finally, the mustard oil gives this curry its distinctive flavour, so try to source it if possible.
Kingfish steaks in mustard curry
400 gm Kingfish steaks, cleaned (or any white fish, see headnotes)
8 cloves garlic
4 heaped tbsp mustard seeds
2 medium, or 1 large, onion, quartered
2 green chillies
Mix a tsp each of turmeric and chilli powder with a pinch of salt. Rub this mixture on the steaks, and allow them to marinate for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the mustard oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, quickly pan fry the steaks, for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Keep the pan and the oil, you’ll be using it again below.
In a spice grinder/mixie, combine the onion, garlic, green chillies and mustard seeds. Add 2 tsp each of turmeric powder and chilli powder and about 1/2 tsp of salt (you can add more later to taste). Grind the mixture until it forms a smooth paste.
Heat the pan with the mustard oil again, and add the curry leaves once hot. Fry off the paste until the oil separates (about 3 minutes). Put the fish back into the pan, and coat with the fried paste.
Add about 1 cup of hot water to the pan, and mix well to form the curry. Adjust water and salt to desired consistency and taste. Allow this to simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve with fluffy rice.
Prep time: 15-20 min; Cook time: 30 min.