1288996078_koxfcruberq3w9eI am so thrilled to announce my first EVER story in Ladies Home Journal (Dec/Jan 2010 issue). It is an essay for their Family Time column. It focuses on my son and I and our bond with food. Jai loves my shrimp curry with coconut milk and in his honor, the recipe is here for you all. I hope you will read the article in the magazine and send me your comments:

 Article is live here - http://www.ladieshomejournal-digital.com/ladieshomejournal/201101?pg=94#pg94


Tomato And Coconut Shrimp Curry

Many cooks have a signature dish, something that they are really proud of. This is mine. I have been cooking it for as long as I can remember. It is a favorite with adults and kids alike. My dad once told me it was his favorite. I cannot tell you how happy I was, since he has discerning tastes. He made it for me once, and it was quite interesting. "I won’t add the mustard seeds, since I don’t like mustard. I don't have any curry leaves, so they won't go in, either. I will saute some onions first and then add tomatoes, and I prefer ground coriander, so I will add that. But you know, I do add the coconut milk, so it is just like yours," he said. For Jai, I make it with shrimp. This recipe is adapted from Modern Spice by Monica Bhide (Simon & Schuster 2009).

Tomato And Coconut Fish Curry

Courtesy of Monica Bhide


Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds*

10 fresh curry leaves*

1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small green serrano chili, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon red chili powder

1?4 teaspoon salt

1 pound catfish fillets, cut into bite-size pieces (or 1 pound medium shrimp, cleaned)

1?2 of a 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk (3?4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the mustard seeds. As soon as they crackle, add the curry leaves, ginger, garlic and chili. Saute for a few seconds to combine.

Add the tomato. Cook gently for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomato is soft and the oil begins to leave the side of the mixture. You can add some water if the tomato begins to stick. I sometimes add a quarter-cup of water and cover the pan for 5 to 6 minutes. This helps cook the tomatoes faster. Then uncover it and continue to cook until all the water evaporates.

Stir in the turmeric, chili powder and salt. Cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the fish and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk. Let the mixture come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fish is tender. Serve immediately.

*Black mustard seeds and curry leaves are available online or at an Indian grocery.


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  1. Congratulations Monica! I will definitely have to read your essay. This recipe sounds wonderful, and I will also have to try it.

  2. Monica, I can’t wait to read the article when it comes out…but of course will definitely try this divine recipe. It just looks and sounds luscious!
    Bonnie Deahl

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