Prep time for this dish is about an hour from start to finish; so one way to get around the time factor is to prepare the salmon beforehand and then just put the massala together on the day you want to serve it. If you’re in a rush, this is probably the way to go.
* Can be made with any other type of boneless fish fillets such as tilapia, cod or haddock.
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Ingredients: (makes about 20 balls: serves 4-6)
2 pieces of fresh or frozen salmon (add an extra 30 mins of preparation time if you are using frozen)
Fresh coriander leaves
2 medium white onions
2 garlic cloves
6-8 tablespoons cooking oil
Spices: 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp salt or to taste.
How to prepare the fish:
1. Wash and dry the salmon (or fish of your choice) then place unseasoned fish on the grill or in a non stick pan and grill until pretty much cooked. Be careful not too overcook the fish. Add a drop of oil if the fish appears to be sticking to the pan too much. Once the fish is cooked, move aside into a bowl.
2. In a bowl, mash up the fish and add only half a tsp of all the above spices. Don’t add any salt at this stage. Add the egg and mash all ingredients together.
3. In a pan, heat up about 4-6 tablespoons of cooking oil.
4. Once the oil is hot enough for frying, gather a bit of the mixture in your hands and roll into a ball. The mixture should make about 20 medium sized balls. Fry all the balls until golden brown then move aside. (This is the most time-consuming part).
Note: If you are planning to prepare the fish balls beforehand so you can make the curry at a later date, this is where you would stop. You can keep the fish balls in the refrigerator or freeze them for however long you need to.
To make the massala: Make the massala as you would for any curry. The method is always the same!
5. Dice 2 onions finely and fry in about 2 tablespoons of oil. When the onion starts to brown, add some finely chopped garlic. (If you have a blender, you can fry 1 onion and blend the other along with the garlic and add to the already browned onion).
6. Add 1/2 tsp of all the above spices along with some salt. (If you want to make the dish a touch spicier, add a little more of each spice).
7. Chop up 1 tomato and add to the mixture. Add a little water and blend into a paste.
Note: if you used a blender, the texture will already be smooth so no need to add water unless you see that the massala is starting to dry up. Remember: the key to any deshi curry is the way you make the massala. Get the spices right, and blend for the right amount of time and you’ll have a perfect curry!
8. You should by now have enough quantity of the massala to make the perfect curry. Make sure the massala isn’t too dry nor too liquidy. Play around with it until you get the quantity you need.
Note: To make more massala from the get go – add more onion.
9. Add the prepared fish balls and let cook for about 10 minutes.
10. Add some fresh chopped coriander/cilantro for decoration and flavour.
Recommendations: Serve with basmati rice, brown rice or coconut rice.
Recipe & image by Sabina Huq