Over the weekend I attended a Friendsgiving. We chatted about (among other things), the crisp air and the dreaded early darkness that loomed over us with the end of daylight saving time. Collectively we came up with the idea for this recipe that will both warm our bellies on cool fall evenings and culinarily transport us to sun-drenched islands in the Caribbean. This West Indian Fish Curry with Chickpeas will make everything “irie”.
1½ pounds firm white fish
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon West Indian curry powder (substitute traditional curry powder if you can’t find the West Indian variety)
1½ teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 small onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, cut into large dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into large dice
2 plum tomatoes cut into small dice
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ cup minced cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges
Cut the fish into 2-inch cubes.
Combine the salt, black pepper, curry powder, and cumin. Sprinkle roughly one-fourth of the seasoning mixture over the fish and allow it to marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat the 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a medium pot and set it over medium heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and sweat until tender, about 6 minutes. Mix in the remaining curry powder mixture, diced plum tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, and minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the canned diced tomatoes, light coconut milk, and chickpeas, then reduce the heat so that the liquid reaches a bare simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the heat level with a pinch of cayenne, if desired.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large nonstick saute pan, over medium-high heat. Gently arrange the fish in a single layer, with room between each piece to prevent steaming. Cook each piece for 1 to 2 minutes per side then carefully pour the curry sauce over the fish. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked and slightly flaky. Serve this West Indian Fish Curry with Chickpeas with minced cilantro and a lime wedge.