This is a mild curry fish dish with a lemony tomato sauce containing a hint of Turmeric and Curry producing a taste similar to Yemeni tomato sauces. The spices of Turmeric, Curry and Cumin are also infused into the breaded fish balls along with a good helping of ginger, onions, garlic and cilantro. The fish balls are then slowly simmered in the rich tomato sauce until perfectly cooked into soft gingery meaty morsels.
Since the sauce takes the spotlight in this dish, it can be cheaply made with a mild and inexpensive fish. I highly recommend using Tilapia with its firm white meat and mild flavor. This fish has become fairly popular in the U.S. and quite ubiquitous on the west coast. It is easy to work with, cheap and has thin firm filets that are perfect for seasoning and frying the fish. Its minced meat worked well for fish balls and it cooks through at low temperatures fairly quickly. Other possible fish options are Roughy or Haddock.
Ginger Curry Fish Balls in Tomato Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
2 Slices Sandwich Bread
1 lb Fish Filets (Tilapia, Roughy, or Haddock)
1 Large Onion Diced
8 Garlic Cloves Diced
1/2 Inch Long Ginger minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Bunch Cilantro Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Ripe Roma Tomatoes Diced
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Lemon Peeled and Cut Into Small Cubes.
Step 1: Preparing the Fish -- In a large bowl soak the bread in 1 Cup of water for about 10 minutes. Afterwards drain the water from the bowl. Squeeze out the excess water from the bread and set the spongy wet bread aside. Place the Fish Filets in a Food Processor or Blender and pulse until well minced (15-30 seconds). Add the minced fish to the spongy wet bread and mix together until well combined. Add half the onions, half the garlic, all the ginger, half the Turmeric, half the Curry Powder, all the Cumin, half the cilantro, the egg and all the Cayenne Pepper to the bowl of fish and bread. Mix all the ingredients together with your clean hands until well blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while cooking the sauce.
Step 2: The Sauce -- In a large deep skillet with lid, heat the olive oil to medium high. Add the remaining onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until onions are soft and almost translucent (3-4 minutes). Add the remaining Turmeric and Curry to the onions and garlic. Stir the ingredients together until well combined. Add the diced tomatoes, Paprika and the remaining cilantro to the pan. Sauté the ingredients until the tomatoes are soft (about 5 minutes). Lower the heat to a mild simmer, add the lemon cubes and cover to cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Step 3: Fish Balls -- While the sauce is simmering, remove the prepared fish from the refrigerator. Using clean hands form the prepared fish meat into ping pong sized balls (should make about 12-15 fish balls). Gently add the fish to the simmering sauce. Cover the pan and let the fish simmer for about 12 minutes.
When done serve this dish with a side of french bread or over a plate of pearl couscous. Enjoy.