Fish Masala: the Fabulous Failure

I’m hitting up the public library today.  Yessiree it’s just about time to nurture the nerd in me (which is pretty much all of me) and start exploring literature again.  And I’m truly magnificently excited about exploring any place that houses stories of every kind — novels, poetry, nonfiction, texts, anything at all.  It encapsulates the heart and soul of our society, any places that holds art, expression, knowledge, and above all, truth.

Plus, I got some bookclubs to catch up on, so hopefully by the tonight I’ll have begun my foray into The Maltese Falcon. 🙂  It’s also rather necessary to delve into some new reads because that plays an important role in some new ideas I have for blogging.  But that will come in time.

I might also check out a cook book or two if possible, to give me a crash course in how to properly cook fish, because for some reason 4 times out of 5 it still remains too fishy.  I made that tilapia taco which turned out great, but even that I could get a faint faint fishiness. So I’m struggling with this clearly — any tips?

You can just smell the spices... hopefully just the spices.

A few nights ago I attempted to make a fish masala dish, mostly because I needed to finish my fish before doing more groceries.  The masala was absolutely tootly perfect!  I will do my darndest to try and recall every step, but it was magical.  The fish… enh, not so much.  But on to the ingredients!!




  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato (roma), diced
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp salt (can add more later to taste)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • a smidge of a dash of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 fillets of fish
  • salt and black pepper

By the way, this is to serve two people, generally, like most of my entree recipes)

Basically, saute the onion in the oil on medium/low heat in a frying pan.  Add the garlic and let it melt in.  I have these glorious frozen crushed garlic trays from Trader Joes — Dorot — that are pureply garlic, without any vinegar or preservatives that garlic paste bottles typically have.  And trust me, the taste difference is so phenomenal! I was a disbeliever until I dropped one cube in; the smell just ate me up!

anyhoo, melt the garlic in, add all the spices except for bay leaves and garam masala, and give it a soft stir.  Then throw in the tomatoes.  I only wanted to add a little bit of tomato in comparison to the quantity of onion because I didnt want a thick masala but just enough soupiness to make it coat the fish.  if you want to add more, then go for it.  You might need to amp up the other spices though.

Once the tomatoes have dissolved a bit, add the bay leaves and garam masala and a little bit of water only if necessary, and stir it up to have a nice spicy sauce.  Separately, prepare the fish by seasoning with salt and pepper, and some red chili powder if you want.  Turn the heat up a bit more, to medium, move the onions and mix to the sides and lay the fish in the middle, letting it get cooked by the oil.  And of course, garnish with some fresh coriander leaves… mmm…

All done!

At this point I’m at a loss for how to get rid of the smell.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesnt. but I cooked my fish about 6 minutes on each side, and then just let it cook and simmer in the pan for a good few minutes longer.  The smell of the masala was just to die for!  But the fish… well, it didnt quite smell like it just died, but it was definitely detectable.  Served hot with rice, you could barely notice it actually, and I enjoyed it the day of, but the uber-sensitive schnoz of my husband couldnt handle it, so he filled up on the masala and other dishes of the night.  Needless to say, I was horrifyingly disappointed, but it was a learning experience.

And I learned that until I know what I can do about this, I’m staying away from fish.


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