Curry/ Pakistani Food/ Seafood

Fish Kadhai/Karahi or Fish in Tomato Sauce

Is it Karahi or Kadhai? I get really confused by that.

Fortunately for all concerned I find it infinitely less confusing to make it. My biggest challenge with this dish was extricating pieces of spice laden tomato-y fish from the remarkably strong grip of my 6 month old as she tried to stuff it into her mouth.

Yes, folks, she has her mother’s natural (or is it unnatural?) enthusiasm for food. I just thought that this may not be an appropriate first food for her, best to stick to oatmeal and purees for now.

Anyway, I make my kadhais slightly differently now according to the meat I have. In a traditional chicken or beef karhai the meat gets put in first and I add more spices, but since fish cooks and breaks so easily I put it in last and hold back on garam masala etc. You are welcome to try this version with chicken as well, just add the chicken in right after the garlic, stir fry, then add spices and resume cooking according to directions.

Fish Kadhai
Serves 4

Boneless white fish fillets, 400g-500g
½ tsp turmeric powder
Juice of half a lemon
½ tsp salt for marinade
1 tbsp heaped kasuri methi i.e dried fenugreek leaves
½ tsp kalonji/nigella seeds
½ tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
8 tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp heaped red chilli flakes
5-6 cloves crushed garlic – or  1 tbsp garlic paste
Sprig curry leaves (optional)
2-4 green chillies finely sliced
Handful of chopped cilantro (optional)
A few lugs of vegetable/canola oil for your karhai/wok/saucepan

Cut your fish into fairly large chunks – mine were about 2*2 inches. Too small and they disintegrate fast. Sprinkle them with the turmeric powder, salt, and juice of one lemon and set aside. If you have a ‘fishy’ smelling fish then rinse the spices off and dry before cooking. If not then go ahead and leave them on.

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Warm oil in your pan and roughly chop your tomatoes. When the oil is hot add the seeds i.e. fenugreek, cumin, and kalonji.

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When the cumin darkens and the aroma of kalonji starts wafting through the air then add in the minced garlic and stir fry for a minute. Now it is time for the red chilli flakes and salt. Cook for a minute and then add your diced tomatoes

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Cook the tomatoes on high heat, stirring constantly until they get dark red and caramelly looking. This takes me about 10 minutes in a large wok.

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If you are up for it then taste your spice mix, adjust seasoning if necessary, then place your fish pieces in the pan and gently stir to coat.

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Drop the heat and add in your curry leaves & fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) and let it cook until your fish is just done. It is very easy to overcook fish so just be careful. Top with chopped green chillies, cilantro and serve alongside your bread of choice. I like mine with plain ol’ chapatti, but you could always use naan or pita bread.

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    drivingmsdesi
    at

    I love fish so this looks and sounds delicious…moreover the photography is amazing!! Really makes the food jump off the page and into my mouth! 🙂

  • Reply
    Anjana @ At The Corner Of Happy & Harried
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    I am always looking for new ways to cook fish. This is a must try, Sarah!

  • Reply
    Aruna Panangipally
    at

    I want your lovely kadhai….. :-p

  • Reply
    MyNinjaNaan
    at

    Karhai is my favorite pakistani food! I’ve never had fish karhai, but that sounds fantastic!
    Btw, real karhai doesn’t have bell peppers in it, and I’m sooo happy that you cook yours without any! I see bell peppers in karhai all the time when we go to eat out and it drives me crazy!
    And cute gold bowl!

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      hahhaah my mother makes jalfrezi with green peppers but our karhai is peppers free 🙂 Thanks on the bowl!

  • Reply
    afracooking
    at

    I am always looking for new ways to cook fish! Love this recipe!!! Thanks for visiting my blog – made me discover yours!

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      Yay, glad you stopped by! I’d say it is a win-win 🙂

  • Reply
    Three Things Thursday – VIII | Flour and Spice
    at

    […] ← Fish Kadhai/Karahi or Fish in Tomato Sauce […]

  • Reply
    Nadia
    at

    I’ve never had fish Karahi (kadhai 😉 ) – your version looks very nice! Lovely color.

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      Thank you Nadia! There’s a first time for everything 😉

  • Reply
    Food For The Soul
    at

    Looks delicious and making this tonight! thanks for sharing…..Zeba

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      hey! did it work out!? would love to hear your thoughts!

      • Reply
        Food For The Soul
        at

        Yes it was excellent! I used wild halibut. I have lots of tomatoes in my garden so had cooked them separately until they are a paste. Brings out the sweetness. Perfection, thanks so much for sharing. Will be making it again:)

        • Reply
          sarahjmir
          at

          ooh I can’t imagine just how wonderful this would be lovely summery tomatoes! thanks for trying it out 🙂

  • Reply
    Maryam
    at

    Assalamu alaikum,
    Sorry to disturb you but I am a little confused about the fenugreek. The photo shows fenugreek seeds as well as dried leaves. The ingredients just mention the leaves but then the instructions just mention the seeds. So how much fenugreek seeds do we need? And do we still add the leaves at the begining?
    Your recipes are so good, thank you so much!!

    • Reply
      sarahjmir@gmail.com
      at

      wow what a good catch! I am so sorry about this. I am out right now so I can’t update the recipe but it is 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds with the other seeds and then the kasuri methi or fenugreek leaves are right at the end! Thank you so so much for trying my recipes and for pointing out my errors!!!

      • Reply
        Maryam
        at

        Thank you so much!!!

        • Reply
          sarahjmir@gmail.com
          at

          made the changes, thanks once again for pointing it out!

          • Maryam
            at

            Oh my goodness! I have been meaning to let you know that I made this 2 weeks ago and it is honestly the most delicious thing I have ever eaten, let alone made!!!! Thank you so much!!! It even impressed my in laws who really don’t “do” fish and who think the ONLY way to eat fish is fried!?!?
            I should never have doubted it, all your recipes are fabulous and really well explained. Thanks again!

          • sarahjmir@gmail.com
            at

            I am ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to hear this! Thank so much for letting me know Maryam 🙂 I also make chicken karhai like this for my kids and they love it too (just no haldi/mirch on the chicken before cooking)

  • Reply
    Syeda Zaki
    at

    Made this for dinner!! Turned out so so good! Most exciting part was that the recipe called for Kasuri methi and dana which I’ve never used before because I have no idea how!! Or what flavours it goes with – any suggestions?

    • Reply
      sarahjmir@gmail.com
      at

      thank you so much! mmmm kasuri methi is one of my favourites!!!! I like it milder and at the end of dishes. It makes a daal gosht super yummy, is a must for butter chicken and is what I will use in any palak dish instead of fresh methi!

    Penny for your thoughts?