Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Emergency Microwave Goan Fish Curry

For a few days, we had no fire in the kitchen. The propane tank that fuels our two-burner stove was empty, leaving us with no source of heat except the toaster and our approximately two-watt microwave. For the first day this was a good excuse to clear out the leftovers from the fridge. On the second day we gamely heated up prepacked meals in a pouch. By the third day we were ready to do our own cooking again, but we still had no gas. Could we make a decent dish in the microwave?

When my family got its first microwave oven, circa 1982, we received as a bonus a set of free microwave cooking classes, which we attended two or three times. The idea was that you could use this new technology as a replacement for conventional cooking. The recipes we tried at home didn't work out too well -- I remember a rubbery omelette and a couple of strips of flabby bacon -- and like everybody else we ended up using our microwave for leftovers, frozen pizzas, and popcorn. (My mother still has that same original microwave, by the way, and it works great.)

Still, I like a challenge, and the following dish turned out pretty well. The trick was finding a recipe that did not require any browning or frying and adapting it for the microwave. The following is based on a prawn curry recipe in The Essential Goa Cookbook.


1/2 a fresh coconut, grated (or a cup or so of unsweetened coconut flakes, soaked in 1/2 cup water)
two plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
one medium onion, sliced
four cloves garlic, chopped
one green chile, sliced
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
2 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
1 walnut-sized lump of tamarind paste (or juice of 1/2 a lime)
1/2 pound of boneless fish (cut into 2-in chunks), or shrimp, or scallops

Put the onions, tomato, garlic, chile, salt, and spice powders in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until more or less liquefied. Add the coconut and process for a couple of minutes more, until you get a smoothish pulp. Empty this mixture into a large microwave-safe bowl along with one and a half cups of water. Stir. Microwave on high (uncovered) for about four to nine minutes, depending on oven wattage. Stir again. Repeat twice more, for a total of 12 to 18 minutes of microwave cooking.

Add the fish or other seafood and stir thoroughly. Return to the microwave and cook on high for four to nine minutes longer. Stir and check the fish for doneness. Microwave at two or three minute intervals if needed until the fish is completely cooked.

Add the tamarind or lime juice and stir thoroughly. Correct seasoning. Serve over rice.

1 comment:

John said...

I'd like to have some more right now!