Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chef Bolek's Catfish "Curry"

My experience with curries comes primarily from eating them, not cooking them.  I love Indian curries and one of my personal culinary goals is to learn how to make various types of curries and to learn the differences between the curries of the different regions of India, as well as learn the differences between curries of India and other countries, such as Thailand and Malaysia.

For this particular recipe, I drew from my limited experience in making Lamb Korma.  I bascially borrowed the spice ingredients, with a few tweaks.  I made this dish for my beautiful Angel, who does not eat meat.  This led to the first change ... I made it with catfish instead of lamb.  The Lamb Korma recipe I made called for two masalas ... a curry masala and a garam masala.  For the second change, I used the garam masala, but used a sweet curry powder (with fenugreek and turmeric powders) instead of the curry masala.  The third change was the addition of some vegetables, like eggplants and bell peppers.  Finally, I decided to use Sanaam chiles, which are chiles from India, to provide a little heat to the dish.

Overall, this dish turned out well, but it falls short of being a curry.  It is more like a "Chef Bolek-ized" curry. Still, I have to start somewhere.  And this was a tasty starting point.

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

1 pound of catfish, cut into even sized pieces
1 small eggplant or 1/2 of a large eggplant, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 cup of bell peppers, diced or thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1 teaspoon of garam masala powder
1 teaspoon of sweet curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek powder
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 dry Sanaam chiles, ground into a powder
1 teaspoon of minced ginger
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons of non-fat yogurt

1.  Saute the vegetables.  Heat the vegetable oil in a deep skillet.  Add the onions and the shallots, sauteing the vegetables for about ten minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute.  Add the bell peppers and the eggplant, along with the garam masala and sweet curry powders.  Continue to saute for about eight minutes.

2.  Add the tomato and liquid.  Add the tomato and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for eight minutes.  Add the remaining cup of water, cover, and simmer for twenty minutes.

3.  Add the fish.  Add the catfish and continue to simmer for about five minutes or until the catfish is cooked.  Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt.


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