White Fish Masala with Cauliflower

White Fish Masala with Cauliflower (Serves 4)

The mixture of spices common in the cooking of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan is called a masala. Every mixture is different, but one I bought included paprika, dried mango powder, coriander, cayenne, brown mustard seed, garlic, fennel, black cardamom, fenugreek, and “other spices.” My masala produced a flavor that was both spicy and sweet. My Whitefish in Coconut Milk with Cauliflower has a Thai themed flavor. This recipe has an Indian themed flavor even though it uses nearly the same ingredients. I like both and I bet you would too.

Ingredient list:

1-1.5 pounds of white fleshed fish
1 large head of cauliflower
1 sweet yellow onion
2 13.5 ounce cans of coconut milk
1 4 ounce can of mild green chilies
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Curry Masala
Garlic powder
Fish sauce


Cut fish into bite-sized cubes, cauliflower into bite-sized florets, onion into bite-sized pieces, and dice chilies into small pieces. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in wok. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown. Add 2 tablespoons of curry masala and stir-fry for one-minute. Add cauliflower and stir-fry to coat all pieces with oil and spice. Add a dusting of salt. Add coconut milk and chilies (with all liquid in cans). Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Splash fish sauce generously across the top. Stir well and bring mix to a boil. Add fish, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook 10 minutes. Check cauliflower for tenderness and taste. Add spices as needed.

Notes: I used frozen “white roughy” from Trader Joe’s. My internet research says there is no such thing as white roughy, but mine tasted pretty good and seemed a cross between catfish and tilapia to me. I used my microwave’s defrost setting to thaw my fish as I started cooking. I don’t think I could distinguish between frozen and fresh fish in this recipe and the frozen fish was definitely cheaper and more convenient. I will use it again.

Fish sauce may stink when you add it, but don’t leave it out. The stink disappears within a few seconds and fish sauce adds a wonderful salty, nutty flavor. Hokan Fish Sauce (the brand I found in my grocery store’s Asian section) is made of only anchovies, water, and sea salt.

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