Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

September 28, 2021

© John Sherlock

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Tilapia in Yogurt and Ginger Curry

Yogurt is bold enough to carry a curry, so, make this dish if if you want a change from regular onion-based curries

Preparation: 30 minutes

For the curry
2½ c. (625 ml) plain yogurt (minimum 2% milk fat), stirred
⅓ c. (90 ml) cooking oil
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) cumin seeds
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) asafoetida (optional)
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) finely chopped ginger
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) turmeric
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) ground coriander
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) paprika
1 tsp. (5 ml) ground cayenne
pepper (optional)
3 c. (750 ml) water
½ c. (125 ml) chopped cilantro

For the tilapia
12 boned and trimmed fillets tilapia 1½- 2 lbs (750 g-1 kg) total), skin on
½ c. (125 ml) bread crumbs
1 tsp. (5 ml) ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) ground coriander
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) turmeric
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) black pepper (optional) 1 tsp. (5 ml) paprika (optional)
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) asafoetida (optional) 2-2½ Tbsp. (30-45 ml) cooking oil

Place yogurt in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium pot, heat oil on medium for 1 minute. Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for 30 to 45 seconds, or until darker brown. Stir in asafoetida. It will sizzle within 30 to 45 seconds and darken, which means it’s cooked.

Add ginger, stir and sauté for 1 minute. Add salt, turmeric, coriander, paprika and cayenne and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. The spices will become slightly pasty. Turn off the heat and stir in water.

To prevent the yogurt from curdling, whisk 1 cup of the masala-water mixture into the yogurt. Pour the yogurt into the pot of masala-water and stir well with a whisk. Turn the heat to high and bring curry to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Set aside while you prepare the fish.

Wash the fillets and set them aside in a colander to dry for a few minutes. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cayenne, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, paprika and asafoetida. Add tilapia fillets and mix carefully until fish is coated with the spiced bread crumbs.

Heat 1 tsp. (5 ml) oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan on medium for 1 minute. Place 2 fillets, skin side down, in the frying pan and cook for about 2 minutes. (If the fillets begin to burn or stick to the pan, add a bit more oil.)

Gently turn the fish over and cook the second side for 2 minutes, or until flesh flakes when gently poked with a knife. Transfer the cooked fillets to a baking sheet. Add 1 tsp. (5 ml) oil to the frying pan, heat for 1 minute, then cook 2 more fillets. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

Heat curry on high and bring to a boil, stirring 2 to 3 times. Stir in cilantro and serve piping hot over tilapia fillets. Serves 6.

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