This curry has quite a light sauce ('jhol'), more akin to a stock than a thick curry sauce. I've chosen sea bream, but you can opt for any firm, white-fleshed fish. Serve with rice.
Wash the fish and rub in some salt and half the turmeric. Set aside for about 5 - 10 minutes. At the same time, salt the cauliflower florets and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan until it is smoking. Take it off the heat for 10 seconds to cool down, then add the fish. It will splutter, so have a lid close by. Fry until golden on both sides, about 5 - 6 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil.
Blend together the onion, ginger, garlic, cumin and mustard seeds until smooth, adding a little water if necessary to help the blades turn. The seeds don’t have to be completely fine, but do try and get it pretty smooth.
Heat up 3 tbsp of the mustard oil from the frying pan in a medium-large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the panch phoran and cook for 20 sizzling seconds or until the seeds have darkened. Now add the bay leaves and follow a beat later with the onion paste, remaining ground spices, chillies and some salt and cook until it releases oil back into the pan, 10 - 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat up the remaining oil in the frying pan over a low heat and add the cauliflower. Cook gently, turning often, until just softening, 5 - 7 minutes. Set aside.
Add the water to the masala. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 - 6 minutes. Add the fish and return to a simmer. After a minute add the cauliflower, cover and again return to a simmer. Cook for another 3 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
Sprinkle over the coriander, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve hot with rice.
This is an edited extract from 'I Love India' by Anjum Anand, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $39.99 and available in stores nationally.
Photographer: ©Martin Poole
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