Look at those colors! Have you ever heard the expression, “eat with your eyes?” That’s what I was aiming for with this recipe. The bright colors of the fish, curry sauce, and fresh herbs complement each other to create a visually appealing dish that you just want to dig into…and that’s exactly what I did!
So how did I come up with this masterpiece? I love Indian cuisine and especially their spice combinations. I was longing for a curry recipe and so I invented this one with a mix of spices to include: cardamom, ginger, cumin, turmeric and mint. And I chose to use red snapper because it looked so fresh at my local fishmonger, but you can substitute another medium-sized white fish such as branzino or sea bass.
People are often scared of cooking a whole fish, it seems intimidating. We’ll I’m here to walk you through it and tell you, have no fear – It’s actually very simple! Plus, when you cook fish whole and on the bone, the outcome is more juicy and flavorful.
So you’ve decided to trust me and want to go buy a fish at the market. How do you know when a fish is fresh? Here are 3 things to look at when choosing a fish:
- THE EYES – If the eyes are cloudy and sunken in, it’s not fresh. Look for eyes that are clear.
- THE FLESH – If the skin looks discolored or cracked, it’s not fresh. Look for skin that is tight and shiny.
- THE GILLS – If the gills are brown or gray, it’s not fresh. Look for gills that are red and bright.
- THE SMELL – If the smell of the fish is stinky and very fishy, it’s not fresh. Look for fish that smell fresh and clean.
Now let’s get cooking! See the recipe below for the braised red snapper with a yogurt coconut curry sauce, I recommend serving it alongside some Jasmine or Basmati rice to soak up with sauce. I can’t wait for you to tell me what you think of it, share your thoughts in the comments below!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger chopped
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ½ small yellow onion diced small
- 2 leeks cut into thin rounds
- ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 8 cardamom pods
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¾ cup fish or vegetable stock
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 lemon ½ juiced and the other half sliced into thin rounds
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole Red Snapper cleaned and descaled
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh cilantro finely chopped
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
- Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Add in the ginger, garlic and onion, cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring halfway in between. Raise the heat to medium and add in the leeks, cumin seeds, 8 cardamom pods, red pepper flakes, curry, turmeric and cinnamon. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes, then add in the tomato paste, cooking for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add in the wine, stock, yogurt, coconut milk, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt, if necessary.
- Take the snapper and score it 3 times diagonally on either side. Season all around, as well as inside, with salt and pepper. Place the lemon slices in the fish cavity. Place in a shallow heatproof baking dish, large enough for the whole fish, and pour the curry sauce over the fish, making sure to cover the top of the fish with the leeks. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your fish (about 13 minutes per pound). Fish should be opaque and cooked through.
- Serve in the baking dish or on another platter with the sauce spooned over the top. Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with chopped mint and cilantro. Serve immediately.