Goan Fish Curry
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult
We've discussed the superduperfood status of fish and the benefits of coconut milk previously here and here. Fish is so important for the developing brain, heart health and as an anti-inflammatory that we should ensure our kids get the recommended 2 1-2 oz servings of fish a week (excluding high mercury shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish). Coconut milk is rich in antioxidants, vitamins B, C and E and other minerals like manganese. It contain lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and can help lower levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and improve heart health. Due to BPA and other contaminants in canned coconut milk, I prefer to buy the boxed kind from my local Thai shop. A good option for those in the Western Hemisphere is Native Forest which can be purchased on Amazon. It's organic and in BPA-free cans.
Several studies in animals have reported anti-depressant, anti-Alzheimer's and anti-Parkinsons effects of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. These benefits are most likely linked to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin as there is a strong link between low levels of inflammation and various neurological diseases. More recently, small studies in humans have also shown promising results for curcumin for depression - in a study conducted by Australian scientists, 56 individuals with major depressive disorder were treated with a placebo or curcumin for 8 weeks. Between weeks 4 and 8, the curcumin-treated group saw a significant reduction in several mood-related symptoms. Larger trials are necessary but these studies suggest a potential role for curcumin either alone or in combination with existing medications for depression. Limitations include the poor bioavailability of curcumin which can be enhanced with new formulations or the addition of piperine from black pepper.
2 adult or 3 toddler portions
1 tablespoon coconut oil, preferably the unrefined or virgin variety
1/2 yellow onion very finely chopped or ground into a paste
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
6-8 curry leaves (found at Indian grocery stores but if hard-pressed to procure, can do without)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1-2 teaspoons turmeric powder depending on intensity of color and flavor desired
Salt to taste
250 ml coconut milk
250g firm fish like halibut or salmon cut into 2 inch cubes
1.5 teaspoons tamarind paste (found in Indian or Asian grocery stores)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red chili / cayenne powder (ADULTS ONLY :))
In a pot for which you have a lid, heat the coconut oil on a medium-high flame. Sautee the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, curry leaves, coriander and turmeric powders and salt and sautee for a minute. Add the coconut milk and reduce the flame to low. Gently add in the fish pieces and let them simmer with lid on for 6-8 minutes. Take the lid off and gently flip the fish to coat well with the coconut milk. Stir in the tamarind and red chili powder if using (adults only!) allowing the mixture to simmer for another 2 minutes. Serve with brown or white rice and a side of green beans with caraway for a complete and heartwarming meal, the kind only grandma can concoct.