1 – 1 1/2 pounds white fish (black cod, sea bass, halibut, mahi-mahi, escolar, ono, wild cod, haddock, etc.) whole filet or pieces (thicker cuts are better here)
- 2 shallots, sliced ( 1/3 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 12 curry leaves
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind water (or lime juice)
- Preheat oven to 375F. (see notes for grilling)
- Pat dry fish, remove any bones, and place on a greased or parchment-lined sheet pan
- Make the paste: Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, pulse again, and repeat, until it becomes a cohesive, thick, paste. It doesn’t need to be smooth. To make tamarind water mix 1 teaspoon tamarind paste with 2 teaspoons water ( just add both to processor)
- Brush the Kerala Paste on the tops and sides of fish.
- Bake until cooked through (12-18 minutes depending on thickness), then broil for a couple of minutes if you like, to get the top golden.
- Optional: In a skillet, sizzle a few fresh curry leaves in ghee for 20-30 seconds until crisp, and spoon over the fish for a pretty garnish.
- Place on a banana leaf if you like and serve with lime wedges, Indian Lemon Rice or Basmati Rice and Raita.
If using very thin fish like tilapia or similar, I recommend pan-searing it on the stovetop in a little oil, so you can “cook the paste” without overcooking the fish.
GRILLED: Feel free to grill the fish ( if it is a fish that will hold together). Grill over medium heat. If grilling a whole filet, lay it down skin-side down on a well-greased grate ( marinade side up). Cover, and cook through until flesh is flaky (test with a fork) 9-15 minutes- time will vary depending on thickness. Using two big metal spatulas place on a platter. If grilling individual, skinless portions, brush both sides with marinade and cook each side 3-5 minutes or until cooked through and flakey.
I’ve also used this flavorful Kerala Paste on chicken before grilling or pan-searing, and on tofu, before baking. Super tasty.
The Curry leaves really elevate the dish (in my humble opinion). Yes, I know they are harder to find. When you do find them, buy extra to freeze so you have them on hand. 😉
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