Don’t be daunted by the length of the ingredient list in this recipe from Kerala. It all comes together without much fuss into a hot, fresh curry sauce bathing bite-size chunks of fish fillets. Choose any fish you like; we suggest tilapia or any firm fish, such as cod. The tempering is added after the fish cooks, as a final flavoring that rounds things out.
Serve with rice, a vegetable dish such as Spiced Grated Carrots, Kerala style, and a fresh salad.
What to buy: Fish Tamarind—This flavoring is not in fact related to tamarind—its English name refers to its culinary use as a souring agent in fish dishes, in Kerala. It is used as a souring agent in other dishes, as well, especially in Keralan and Gujarti cooking. Fish tamarind comes from a fruit (Garcinia indica or G. cambogia) that is cut into strips and then dried, so that it looks like blackened lumps of leather. … Fish tamarind is not widely available in North America, but you may find it in most Sri Lankan and Indian grocery stores. True tamarind can be substituted for either fish tamarind or goraka, as we do in this book, using about 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp (dissolved in hot water and strained) for each piece of fish tamarind called for in the traditional recipe.
Beverage pairing: A to Z Pinot Gris, Oregon. The spice and vegetable flavors of the green curry suggest a wine that has a “green” edge itself. Pinot Gris, a specialty of Oregon, fits the bill. This inexpensive version has a lot of flavor, is wonderfully versatile, and is just slightly off dry, which can soothe the mouth if the curry gets too spicy.