Fish Tikka Masala

I’ve been planning and imagining how to use fish instead of chicken in my Indian saucy dishes. I think it will work and cooking time should be even shorter because I am using fillets. Incidentally, I am loaded with Indian spices- thanks to my Indian spice runner. She bought huge bags for me this time because the store where she shops at is undergoing renovation so everything is on sale. She’s worried that I’ll run out before the store goes back in business. I appreciate the concern but I am not a restaurant owner so I told her in an amused manner and she just dismissed me with a shrug. Oh well, my friends will surely get some of the stash- share the wealth as J puts it :-)
Going back to my fish dish, I have a tray of farm raised tilapia fillets which I sliced in small pieces. After all, “tikka” means small pieces and “masala” means a mixture of spices. I did the usual yogurt-grated ginger-salt and pepper marinade albeit really quick lest I ruin the fish. I thought of the grill pan but decided to take the pan-fry way. Again it was like in and out of the pan. They will finish cooking in the sauce. I did a little twist and skipped the tomatoes- instead I used fresh lemon juice so the recipe goes like this.

Fish Tikka Masala

1 cup plain or Greek yogurt, whisked until smooth
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves (optional)
2 pound tilapia fillets, cut into large bite-size chunks

3 tablespoons butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch thumb ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp red chili powder or more to make it more spicy
2 tbsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups water (or low-sodium chicken broth and decrease the salt to a teaspoon)
1/2 cup heavy cream
juice of 1 lemon
Fresh cilantro leaves

For the 10 minute marinade:
In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt and black pepper. Add bay leaves if using
Wash and pat the fish dry then add to the yogurt mix.
Make sure each piece is coated with the marinade
Heat skillet over medium high heat and add canola oil
Quick-fry the fish – cooking will finish in the sauce, set aside
In the same pan add the butter and more oil if needed
Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and red chili powder.
Sauté until lightly browned around the edges.
Add the lemon juice and garam masala and sauté for about 1 minute to allow the flavors to meld.
Add salt and water. Bring to a boil then add the fish
Add heavy cream and stir carefully so as not to ruin the fish.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with steamed white basmati rice
Instead of serving the fish with plain rice, I made turmeric rice which turned out really good.

Turmeric Rice

4 cups white basmati rice, washed thoroughly
¼ cup olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1½ tbsp turmeric

Chicken broth should be really hot on stand-by in a pot
Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan
Sauté onion until translucent
Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant
Add turmeric and sauté until the powder dissolves completely and the mix turns lightly browned
Add the rice and stir toss to coat.
Keep tossing until rice gets a little puffed
Add chicken broth about a cup at a time, occasionally stirring
Repeat the process until all the broth is added to the rice
The rice should be almost done so put the lid and turn off the heat
Stir before serving with your favorite dish or by itself with chopped cilantro 


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