People in Bangladesh eat a LOT of fish. Especially fresh water fish. Fish are such a commonly eaten item, we even use it in colloquial language – for instance if you’re inviting someone over for a casual meal you say, “come on over, we’re just having bhaat maach (fish and rice)” – it’s our equivalent of a backyard BBQ. Because fish are available all year long, we have a lot of different ways of cooking them. Most of the fish usually enjoyed in Bangladesh are not available here, so I make do with whatever fresh water fish I can find. Tilapia is just such a fish. Tilapia is mild (no fishy taste here) and when filleted, it cooks very quickly. I came up with a “Bosa Maach” recipe for Tilapia or Swai fillets. “Bosa Maach” literally translated means “Sitting Fish”. All the spices are mixed with the fish in the pan then covered and cooked with no stirring, letting it “sit” in the resulting gravy. This is especially helpful for Tilapia or Swai fillets since they are so tender, they tend to break easily if overly handled or stirred. From start to finish, it literally takes 10 minutes to have this dish completed. I made it last night before leaving the house in a hurry to teach a class. I even had time to spare. It was the perfect accompaniment to the Quinoa and Lentil salad.
10 Minute Tilapia Curry
4 Tilapia Fillets, cut in halves
1 small bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp garlic and ginger paste (I keep a 1:1 ratio of garlic and ginger blended in the fridge in a mason jar)
1 tbsp mustard oil
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Wash the fish fillets and cut them in half lengthwise. In a 12″ skillet, place the fish and all the other ingredients and mix together gently with your hands. Cover and place over medium heat for 6 minutes. Uncover and gently flip fish over and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water depending on how much gravy you desire. Cover and cook another 3 minutes. Serve with curried quinoa and lentil salad or plain white rice.