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.


  • 2 medium sea bream, cleaned, scaled and cut into 2.5 - 4cm steaks

  • Salt

  • 1 tsp ground tumeric

  • 150g large cauliflower florets

  • 4 - 5 tbsp mustard oil (preferably) or vegetable oil

  • ½ red onion

  • 20g roughly chopped root ginger (peeled weight)

  • 2 large garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp panch phoran

  • 2 dried Indian bay leaves

  • 2 tsp ground coriander

  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (or to taste)

  • ½ tsp garam masala

  • 2 - 3 green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with a knife

  • 400ml water

  • Handful of chopped coriander


  • 1.

    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.

  • 2.

    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.

  • 3.

    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.

  • 4.

    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.

  • 5.

    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.

  • 6.

    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.

  • 7.

    Sprinkle over the coriander, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve hot with rice.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

  • Energy 1168kj
  • Fat Total 39g
  • Saturated Fat 6g
  • Protein 185g
  • Carbohydrate 10g
  • Sugar 2g
  • Sodium 2562mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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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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