Can you dedicate a recipe? This is my blog so I’m going to say yes… therefore, I’m dedicating this Kerala salmon curry recipe to an old friend of mine from grade school, Lisa (name changed to protect her privacy).
Lisa reached out to me after I shared my story on my blog and decided to open up to me about her GI issues. She recently became a pescatarian (vegetarian + seafood) and wanted to know if she needed to switch back to eating chicken/other meat in order to properly follow a Paleo diet.
First let me say, I don’t think there is a proper way to follow Paleo. It’s about avoiding processed foods and eating plenty of REAL food (veggies, meat, fruit. read more about the paleo diet here). Secondly, if you don’t eat chicken or red meat, that’s absolutely your decision. There are plenty of seafood and vegetarian recipes out there to keep you satisfied – if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to create nutritious meals. Ultimately, you have to eat what is best for you. I’m not a nutritionist or a physician. I can only tell you what works for me and what I’ve learned through the magic tool that is google.
Talking to Lisa made me realize that I’m seriously lacking in the seafood department when it comes to my blog. It’s ironic because I think Rob and I eat more seafood than any other type of protein. Fish takes minutes to cook and so we eat seafood regularly on weeknights. This salmon curry isn’t quite as quick or easy but it is fantastic. I typically make this on weekends or if I’m not too tired after work then I’ll make it on a weeknight.
I used wild-caught sockeye salmon for this dish. Wild-caught is a much better choice than farmed salmon. Did you know that farmed salmon is actually an ugly grey color? People expect salmon to be pink, so salmon farmers feed their fish color pills. Wild-caught salmon on the other hand is naturally pink due to diet.
When it comes to seafood, I try to be mindful of the type of fish I’m buying/eating. I suggest using this seafood recommendation list to make sure that the fish you’re eating is both healthy and sustainable. You can also read this article to learn more about making conscientious paleo seafood choices.
This Kerala salmon curry recipe is from my mom (in-law) and it’s one of my favorites! It’s made with different Indian spices, curry leaves and coconut milk. One ingredient in this recipe may be new to you – it’s called kodampuli.
Kodampuli (or kudampuli) is a sour, smoked and dried Indian fruit similar to tamarind and is used as a souring agent in Keralite fish curries. Kodampuli is also known as Fish Tamarind or Gambooge – and it’s also often and wrongly confused with Kokum (another sour fruit used in Indian dishes). You can most likely find kodampuli at your local Indian grocery store (just ask the owner if they have it). After you buy kodampuli, you’ll want to store it in an air-tight glass container. It has a very, very strong smell but a subtle flavor. It adds a slight tanginess to the fish curry – making for an awesome, complex and unique flavor profile. Rinse the dried fruit and then soak it in water for half an hour before adding it to your curry.
Try this curry – I hope you enjoy it. Personally, I think this fish dish tastes better the next day once the flavors have all had some time to marry. It’s a huge hit with my hubby.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Serrano peppers, slit but still in tact
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 1-inch knob fresh ginger, minced
- 6-7 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika (for color)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 cup water
- 2 pieces of Kodampuli, soaked in water
- 1 pound wild-caught sockeye salmon (skin removed), cut into a few pieces (you can cut this into smaller pieces once the fish is cooked)
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk, full fat
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat oil on medium heat and splutter mustard and fenugreek seeds.
- Add onions, serrano peppers, curry leaves and pinch of salt.
- When the onions turn golden, add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a couple minutes and then add the spices. Mix everything together, add the water and the kodampuli.
- Bring everything to a low boil and then add the salmon. After a couple minutes, gently flip the fish. After another two minutes, add the coconut milk.
- Season well with salt and pepper and let the fish simmer in the coconut milk for about 5 minutes until the curry has thickened a bit.
- Once the curry is done, you can cut the fish into smaller pieces with your spatula, if you’d like.