It has been a long time since I last cooked a curry dish. And for no real reason except that I've been busy cooking other things. But I am always drawn back to the intensity and spiciness of curries. You could say it's second nature, having come from a background where curried foods featured often in homes and restaurants.
My typical curry dishes are Indo-Caribbean (a style of cooking brought to the islands by groups of Indian indentured laborers in the 1800's.) In general, dry curry powder is added to hot vegetable oil, and toasted. At that point, some liquid ( sometimes water, coconut milk or a
mixture of both) will be added which forms the base of the sauce. Finally, raw, seasoned meat or fish is then added to the sauce and simmered until cooked.
For this curry recipe, I am doing the opposite: adding cooked fish (in this case, tilapia) to an already prepared sauce. While this method reduces the overall cooking time, in no way does it diminish the "curry-ness" of the dish.
Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia in Coconut Curry Sauce
4 tilapia fillets
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Coconut Curry Sauce (see recipe below)
1. In a shallow dish , combine the cornmeal, cilantro, and garlic powder, and set aside. Pour the buttermilk into another shallow dish and set that aside. Season the tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.
2. Set up a work station beginning with the seasoned tilapia fillets, then the buttermilk, followed by the cornmeal mixture. Coat each fillet in the buttermilk and dredge with the cornmeal mixture, making sure that both sides get a substantial layer of cornmeal.
3. Cook the now cornmeal-coated fillets in a skillet coated with a thin layer of vegetable oil, about two tablespoons, until cooked throughout, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a serving dish and pour over the coconut curry sauce.
Coconut Curry Sauce
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp yellow curry powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1. Cook the onion and garlic in two tablespoons of vegetable oil until the edges brown lightly. Add the curry powder and cook for another minute.
2. Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and continue to cook until reduced by about a quarter and slightly thickened.