Creative Cooking & An Easy Fish Curry

Part of my collection
Do you like collecting cookbooks? I have quite a few in my collection – the high priestess of Italian cooking Marcella Hazan rubs shoulders with master patissier Eric Lanlard and the delectable Nigella Lawson stands tall next to the reliable Sanjeev Kapoor

I recently bought a stack of new ones (read Of A Memorable Brunch and New Cookbooks) and my copy of Nigellissima is on its way even as I write this. Surprisingly, Jamie Oliver is missing – take a hint, Secret Santa!

Amongst the new acquisitions is a book that I find myself going back to quite often – Samar Halarnkar’s The Married Man’s Guide to Creative Cooking. I have already cooked several dishes out of this book, including the fish curry recipe that follows. In my previous post, I had written about another recipe from this book – homemade harissa, a versatile, spicy condiment that goes well with both veggies & meats. I used it to make Harissa Prawns with Hummus & Pita.

Halarnkar’s book is peppered with anecdotes and food memories; also with stories about why some of the dishes have such peculiar names – Bank Roast Chicken, Star Trek Aubergine, also a Chicken With No Name... Clearly creativity is not confined to the cooking! Written in an entertaining style, the book is full of little tips and tricks, including an entire chapter on how to entertain at home without getting all stressed about it. 

I highly recommend you buy the book.

The recipe that follows is the Welcome-Summer Fish Curry, which I have adapted a bit. The kokum (or aamsul) used in the recipe is the dried outer covering of a fruit belonging to the mangosteen family. It’s used extensively in the cuisine from coastal Maharashtra and Goa to impart tartness as well as a typical pinkish red colour.

Here’s my version of Halarnkar’s recipe. I had luckily found some excellent, fresh surmai fillets during my morning market run. Instead of frying them or making my usual fish curry, I decided to try this variation. It turned out mildly spicy with a silky texture due to the coconut milk. This recipe serves two people as main course. Adjust the spices as per your taste.

You’ll need:

How to:

So how many cookbooks do you own? Any favourites? Leave me a comment below. 

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