Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunday Brunch and A Mildly Spicy Fish Molee

   If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen... and eat on the deck! That's the rule around our house. Unfortunately, it's been pretty unseasonably cool here in Sonoma and we haven't had a whole lot of hot, get-out-of-the-house-eat-on-the-deck Sundays. We had one last week however and the combo of the weather and that extra special 7 dollar cauliflower was too tempting to resist.
   Even though the cauliflower was the leading lady on the table we needed a supporting player, someone we could get for a price, that would get along with all the other dishes.
 In the movie business there are a whole list of actors and actresses who'd fit that description. In putting together an Indian dinner the casting list gets a little shorter. A quick trip to the market and                     I had my co-star. Basa, that versatile, affordable totally cooperative fish. Here's a little headshot.         

Not exactly glamorous but it gets the job done.
  After a little trip to the make-up trailer so to speak...voila! Why Basa, you're beautiful!
   Well, at least a little better looking. Okay, it's raw fish. It's still more attractive than the guy in the picture above.
    This dish can be made with anything from catfish to basa to red snapper. Any nice firm fleshed mild fish works very, very well. The recipe I used is my adaptation of a traditional Molee, a creamy fish curry from Kerala. Here's how to do it:
    Dry and cut 1 and 1/2 lbs of basa or snapper or catfish into 2 inch pieces.
    In a kadhai or deep skillet heat about 2 Tbs of coconut oil.
    When the oil is hot toss in:
  1 large onion. Cut it in half and slice it thinly.

  Stir the onions around for about 5 minutes or so till it softens. Then put in:
  3 crushed shallots
  2 green chilies finely chopped
  Keep on cooking until the onion has become even softer and turns translucent.
  Then toss in:
  2 tsp of turmeric
  1 tsp of coriander
  1 tsp of cumin
  4 cloves
  6 fresh or frozen curry leaves
    Stir fry all of this for about 2 minutes then it's coconut milk time!
  Pour in:
 1 and 2/3 cup of coconut milk
  1/2 tsp of salt
  bring it to just below the boiling point then lower the heat to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
Then add in your fish pieces.

Turn the heat up a bit and let the fish simmer gently for 5 minutes or so, or until the fish is cooked through and ready to serve.
  Check your seasoning. If you need more salt this is the time to add it.
  Chop about 2 Tbs of fresh cilantro and sprinkle it over the dish. Stir it in and you're done.

I accompanied this with a hot pineapple sambal which I served in the hollowed out pineapple for the coolness factor.

    Here's the recipe.
     This fish dish can be made, and often is, a lot hotter. So, if you'd like to spice up your fish dish a bit just lean on the chilies. Remember though, always taste before you add more.
     Coming up, a cold rice dish that "ties the room together" so to speak. Our adventures at a potato farm where they do things Old Skool and more about the Coconut Giveaway from Tropical Traditions.


  1. Looks really good. I have never made an Indian seafood dish. I want to try this one.

  2. Both dishes sound great...I want to hng out on your patio :)

  3. My stomach is grumbling just looking at these pictures. I would be so happy to sit down in front of this beautiful meal.

  4. beautiful fish baby....the dish too - love the spice with the coconut milk

  5. Yum! Who is basa's photographer...I must find him/her. ;)

    I was impressed with the hollowed out pineapple. I must not have the patience to hollow them out because I've never been successful in doing it without piercing the side or bottom.

  6. My Mans' Belly,
    Yes, the pineapple was pretty impressive, just click on the recipe link to find out how I did it..hinty hint it's a very inexpensive and nifty little device that leaves pineapples perfect almost every time!

  7. @Drick,
    thanks a bunch..coming from you,that's high praise!

  8. @Magic of Spice,
    I love the patio..we have 1800 sq foot of deck at our house and we take advantage of every inch of it!

  9. @janis,
    there are a lot of great ones from the south and costal areas. I'd love to see what you'd do.

  10. How cute! the pineapples reminds me of thai fried rice!

  11. Oh my gosh....turmeric, coriander and cumin; three of my favorite things. This dish looks amazing. Do you think it would work at all with chicken since I'm not surrounded by fish lovers?

  12. The first time I made fish moilee I was stumped by the simplicity. Its amazing to taste and pretty easy to make too.

    Love your post. Keep em coming.


  13. Sounds delicious! I love the before and after fish pictures!

  14. We've got lots of fresh and beautiful Basa fillets available at supermarkets here. Your sauce is really good to cook with basa. Will try later.

  15. Indeed, this looks like a great spicy brunch menu item! Love the spice combination with the turmeric, coriander, cumin, curry leaves, and then the coconut milk! Perfect flavors!

    Bon appetit!

  16. this really sounds and looks fabulous Kathy would love to try to this!



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