When I was a kid my family literally lived 300 feet from the lake. It wasn’t unusual for someone to grab a pole and some bait and go out on the lake and fish. I think my brother was more fish than boy, he spent so much time on the lake. I was more likely to grab my bait and pole and head to the marina to fish by myself.
The marina was a little inlet that was deep, with a lot of weeds on the bottom. The fish came to the marina to spawn. At the marina the challenge wasn’t catching fish, you could drop an empty hook into the water and catch a fish. The challenge at the marina was knowing where to fish for fish that were big enough to keep.
My dad insisted that if you were going to fish you were going to be able to bait your own hook and remove your own fish off the hook as well. I was the only girl in the neighborhood who could do that. I also learned how scale and gut fish, although that tested the limits of my daring. Fish slime I could handle, fish guts were best left to Russell. So why, with all that fish experience, didn’t I ever learn how to cook fish?
Seriously, there are only two seafood recipes on this blog because I have the hardest time cooking fish and other seafood properly. I am paranoid I will overcook it so I undercook it or I am so paranoid I will undercook the fish that I overcook it. It is just a hot mess. That doesn’t mean I stop trying. Last night I found two Tilapia fillets left over from a previous failed attempt at cooking fish. So I decided to try a fish curry from 660 Curries. The dish didn’t look like it was going to come together until the very end. I also had to cover it for the last few minutes of cooking time because the fillets were of uneven thickness. In the end, however, I really enjoyed this dish.
Tilapia with Yogurt Sauce
1/4 tsp turmeric
8 oz skinless Tilapia fillets
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 TBS canola oil
1 1/2 tsp Bengali 5 Spice Blend
1 dried red Thai chili, stem removed
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
Sprinkle the turmeric over both sides of the fish and rub it in. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to overnight. When ready to cook, whisk the yogurt, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle in the Bengali 5 Spice blend, and dried chilies. Cook until the spices sizzle and start to smell good, 15 to 20 seconds. Add the fish fillets and sear them on both sides on the bed of spices, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer the fish to a plate. Add the onion and ginger to the skillet and stir-fry until the onion is light brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Pour in the yogurt mixture and stir to mix the onion mixture into it. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and poach them, uncovered, until the fish is barley starting to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.