Fish Curry In A Hurry


According to the latest science, we should be eating fish at least twice a week to prevent stroke, heart disease and dementia. Many people fear cooking fish; overcooking, undercooking and generally stinking up the kitchen. Fish is not just healthy, but can be easy and simple to prepare. This is my easiest fish curry so far.  


This recipe works well for for weeknight meals.  Braising the fish in a flavorful light broth makes it difficult to overcook and the fish stays moist and firm. Braising also reduces cleanup and odors by avoiding the mess of splattering oil which occurs when sautéing or pan-frying. 

The use of powdered spices is inspired by Indian home cooking, as is the light broth. Its not like the creamy dishes found in most Indian restaurants, which are generally not cooked at home. This combination of spices is typical of the state of Bengal, where preparing delicious fish is a highly revered specialty and the pride of all home cooks. It's a lightly spicy curry and you can use only one, or even a half jalapeño if you prefer it mild.

If your fish is frozen, thaw it slowly in the fridge for a day or two before using. If you didn’t plan ahead, thaw in changes of cool water. Keeping the fish cold until cooking reduces the risk of harmful bacterial contamination. 

You can easily adapt this recipe to included shellfish or as a vegetarian version. 

RECIPE: Fish Curry in a Hurry


  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil  
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds 
  • 1-2 jalapeños, quartered lengthwise  
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric  
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 Cup halved cherry tomatoes, about 20
  • 2 pounds firm white fish ( snapper, redfish, mackerel, etc), cut into 2 oz pieces (about 2 inch) 


  1. Heat the nigella seeds in oil over medium heat until they begin to sizzle. 
  2. Add the spices, jalapeños and salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Add the water and cherry tomatoes and bring to a boil. 
  4. Add the fish and cook at medium heat until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  5. Serve with rice or enjoy on its own. 

Makes 4 to 6 servings


Tricolor Vegetables w Bengali 5 Spice (panch phoran)


One of the many joys of seasonal cooking is embracing doing the best with what you’ve got. Such is my journey with purple cabbage. I don’t give it much thought at all. I look at it and immediately think cole slaw.  But Sarment, one of the farmers I visit every week knowing everything he grows is delicious, had several adorable little purple cabbages a few weeks ago. He also had gorgeous Swiss chard and the usual divine sweet potatoes. These items came home with me and became the inspiration for this dish. 

I have been making this regularly and eating it with a side of Greek yogurt as lunch. It’s lovely to look at, and the purple cabbage retains its color and crunch to balance against the gently wilted chard and creamy sweet potatoes. Everyone, especially children, are always interested in this dish. It’s appealing.

I have used an Indian spice mix here as it is round in taste, flavorful, mild and compliments the vegetables. It’s a particularly good complement to cabbage. Traditionally used in the Indian state of Bengal, panch (five) phoran (whole spice) is a mix containing fennel, nigella(onion seeds), mustard, fenugreek and cumin. It is used in a old vegetable dish popular in Bengali households called chachori, where no part of any vegetable is wasted. This tradition is being slowly lost in favor of more sophisticated foods, but it’s too delicious not to rescue.  You can also use coriander in place of the cumin.  You can make your own (equal parts of each) or buy it online.  Spices have medicinal and health properties that have been studied in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. This blend contains spices that act as anti-oxidants and are believed to reduce inflammation. 

Something this beautiful, easy and delicious makes cooking a delight. Serve it as a side dish, eat with a piece of bread, a small bowl of rice, or with yogurt (like me).  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

RECIPE: Tricolor Vegetables with Bengali 5 Spice


  • 2 tsp panch phoran
  • 1 Tsp expeller pressed canola
  • 3C chopped sweet potatoes
  • 3C chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 C chopped Chard stems
  • 4C chopped Chard leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric


  1. Heat spices in the pan slowly with oil until the mustard seeds just start to pop.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and remaining spices and sauté for 2-3 minutes, covering occasionally.
  3. Add the cabbage, toss, and cook covered for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add chard stems and cook covered 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the chard leaves and toss to gently wilt.  

Adjust seasonings and enjoy.   Serves 4.


Almost Meatless Monday


Instead of meatless, I think of all meals as Mostly Vegetables with a small amount of protein.  I eat meat, but it's not usually the focus of my food desires. I find this approach helps me get closer to the daily goal of 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Using seasonal produce keeps it fresh and nutritious and gives me a sense of time and place as the year progresses.

Monday nights are always hectic when it comes to getting the evening meal ready.  What's in the fridge? What can I cook without too much time.  Good news! The fridge is filled with winter vegetables and a pork tenderloin from the farmers market.  I always have some curry paste and coconut milk on hand.  A stash of basmati lives in the freezer.

I think being unconstrained by specific recipes, and using a method,  choosing the ingredients on hand, is a much better way for me.  But that does require knowing a few methods.  This is an easy one and I go back to it often. It's a one pot approach, which I seem to have embraced in the past few years as I have been cooking much more regularly.

Although one doesn't find this combination in a traditional Panag curry, it's perfect for the time. Fennel is bountiful where I am, so I used it,  along with a gorgeous cauliflower, a slightly dried daikon, two sweet potatoes, and a bunch of rainbow chard. I like the cauliflower with some crunch, so I cut the pieces a little larger than the rest of the veggies.  I cut the pork tenderloin into small cubes.  I used a canned curry paste, just because it's easy.  I like Maseri brand.  The amounts of vegetables should be about 3 to 4 times the volume of the protein.  You can substitute, chick peas, tofu or paneer to keep it meatless.  Add chicken, another meat, shrimp, or a meaty fish.

This is a particularly delicious combination, but I encourage you to mix and match vegetables that you like.   You can use this method with any of the Thai curry pastes.

I have not added salt as the curry paste is high in sodium.   You can also make your own curry paste, lower the sodium and keep it in the freezer.

This makes a large pot of curry and serves 6-8. It's great for a left over lunch as well. I freeze it as well, making sure to thaw slowly in the fridge to keep a better texture of the ingredients .

Recipe: Vegetable and Pork Curry


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin or expeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes (about 2 cups) 
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 daikon (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, leaves and stems, chopped (about 2 cups) 
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1-1/2 pound) 
  • 1-4 oz can Maesri Penang Curry Paste
  • 8oz coconut milk
  • 8oz water
  • 1/4 C cilantro leaves for garnish  
  • Lime wedges for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick pan with high sides.
  2. Add all vegetables and sautée over medium high heat until sweet potatoes are just cooked through.  (If using chick peas, add them with the vegetables).
  3. Add pork and curry paste and sautee for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add water and coconut milk, mix well. 
  5. Cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes. 
  6. Serve with a little basmati rice or enjoy on its own. 
  7. Garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge if you like.