Over a Cup of Coffee: South Indian Fish Curry best eaten with the right hand

A few months ago I featured Heidi Balaraman's recipes, and some I saved for later. Here is one of those:

To make South Indian Fish Curry you'll need a large eggplant (chopped), a couple handfuls of fresh okra (halved) or frozen okra, 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds, 3 to 7 garlic cloves (halved), a finger-size gingerroot (diced), 1/2 purple (red) onion (chopped), 1 tomato (diced). 1 teaspoon or more salt (to taste), 3 heaping tablepoons curry, 1 tablespoon or more lemon juice, and as much fish as you like, cut into bite-size portions.

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Heidi says the purpose of the lemon juice is to cut back on the fish taste. She usually uses a liquid that she prepares from tamarind pulp.

As for the fish, Heidi uses "Basa," a Vietnamese fish she purchases from a grocery store in Colorado Springs. You can also use tilapia, a Mexican fish, or "orange roughy."

To make the curry, first saute, without oil and on low, the eggplant. Remove and saute, without oil and on low, the okra.

(If frozen skip this step.) Remove. Saute: 1 tablespoon oil, the fenugreek seeds, onion, garlic, and gingerroot. When brown, add back the veggies. Add the tomato, salt, curry powder, and lemon juice. Simmer 30 minutes or until veggies are very soft. Add as much fish as you want, and boil until done.

Serve on rice. Heidi says "South Indian Fish Curry" is best eaten with the right hand, as the Indians do.

Some time ago I gave Heidi a recipe for Saltine Chocolate Pieces that I'd found on the side of a Kroger "Original Saltines" box. This last week, Heidi told me the recipe is quick to make and good so I tried it. She's right. The pieces taste like toffee.

I featured "Saltine Chocolate Pieces" in a past column. Here it is again, in case you missed it.

You'll need: 1 sleeve (about 37) Kroger Saltines, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup butter, 12 oz. (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup chopped nuts. I used walnuts. I think almonds would be good, too.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 10-by-15-inch cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Cover cookie sheet with saltines. Boil sugar and butter for 3 minutes.

Pour mixture over saltines and spread evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with chips and let sit for 1 minute. Spread melted chips with a spatula. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate and press down lightly. Cut on the diagonal immediately or cool until firm and then break up. Pieces can be frozen.

I also baked Mary Roland's delicious cake this weekend.

I used apples. There's a lot of heavy batter so use a big bowl. I baked the cake at 325 degrees.

Send your recipes and comments to me at Box 415, Craig, 81626 or call me at 824-8809 (evenings best.)

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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