This recipe comes from the excellent Indian Home Cooking, co-written by Suvir Saran, who is a friend of a friend, and who has been personally kind and generous to me for years now. Buy his book(s).
Indian cuisine is fantastic if you are a vegetarian, and one of the hallmarks of typical Indian cooking is dal, or lentils, stewed up and served over rice or with quick-fired bread.
This recipe is great for weeknight dinners. It’s easy, flavorful, a little spicy, and totally good for you. My 10-year-old son loves it. I don’t have mango powder, but I find that the lemon works really well to bring that bit of acidity to balance the turmeric and cumin.
Try this out with rice - I like to use basmati and to do a pilaf (toasting the rice in cumin-studded oil before rehydrating). I think you’ll enjoy it!
Recipe from: Indian Home Cooking, Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness
(I forgot to take a picture - I will next time)
Holiest site in Hinduism, Varanasi's riverside ghats are a swirl of color, faith, life, and death. We discuss the vedas, the great epics, and the development of Indian civilization with Vivek Vasan from the Historical India podcast.
Traditionally, this dish requires carp caught from the Yellow River. You won’t have access to that in all likelihood, so use any good firm mild-flavored fish. Whole fish looks really cool, but if you’re not trying to impress, filets work just as well. Bass, trout, halibut, all would work fine. I used grouper, which worked fantastically well. The recipe is for the whole fish, but cooking a filet is easier.
Basically, score the skin of the fish if you’re using whole fish, coat it with cornstarch and then flash-fry it in a very hot wok. Then drain the oil, and make a simple lightly sweet and vinegary sauce in the wok and serve with rice and veggies. The sauce is not fluorescent orange. The key is the black vinegar. I had never heard of this. It’s a rice-based vinegar, but aged so it becomes dark and umami-rich. It’s kinda like balsamic but more magical, and the way it mingles with the sugar, garlic, scallions and ginger… wow. You can use the sauce on chicken, tofu, pork… I bet it’s really good with strips of lean beef stir-fried. Try it. You will like it.
1 whole or filleted fish (1 1/2 lbs)
1 tsp salt
oil for frying (peanut or vegetable or similar)
2 green onions, chopped fine
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 cup black vinegar
3 tbsp sugar (preferably turbinado)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 chicken stock (unsalted)
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp cold water
Adapted from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips