Fresh mackerel is often underrated but the oily nature of this fish makes it perfect for rich curries like this one. Coconut, tamarind and tirphal (a variety of Sichuan peppercorns) lends the perfect combination to build the base of this curry which is best enjoyed with steamed rice and a side of vegetables or salad.
1. 4 mackerel; cut into four equal sized pieces (head included)
2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
3. 1 medium onion; finely chopped
4. For the coconut paste:
• 10 dried Kashmiri chillies, soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes
• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 1 inch ginger, diced
• 1 cup fresh grated coconut
5. 1 tsp turmeric powder
6. 2-3 tbsp tamarind paste
7. 10 Tirphal (or Sichuan peppercorns)
8. Salt, to season
9. 3 sprigs coriander leaves; finely chopped
• Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and sauté the chopped onions till it softens and turns light brown. Keep aside to cool.
• Grind together the onion with soaked chillies, coriander seeds, ginger and coconut with enough water to make a thick, smooth paste.
• Heat the remaining oil in another deep pan and add the ground coconut paste. On low heat, fry the paste for about 5 minutes.
• Add turmeric and continue to fry on low heat for another 2-3 minutes taking care not to burn.
• Next add the tamarind paste and mix well to combine. Add 2 cups of water, season with salt and bring to boil.
• Add the fish pieces carefully and lower heat to simmer gently. Also add the tirphal or peppercorns.
• Cook covered for 5 minutes then mix lightly without breaking the fish pieces. Add more water if necessary. Continue to cook till the fish pieces are done.
• Garnish with coriander leaves.
• Serve warm with rice and enjoy