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Curried Fish Fillets

This comes from Cochin in southern India, on the Malabar Coast. At one time there were 2 distinct communities, the "black" and the "white," completely separate from other Indian Jews, most of whom live in Bombay. This fish dish was popular on the Sabbath among the so-called black Jews.
Most of the Cochin Jews now live in Israel. This recipe was given to me by Yvonne Isaac, an old friend from Young Poale Zion, the Zionist youth movement to which I belonged. If you do not like very hot curry, substitute 1/2 teaspoon chili powder for the whole chili pepper.

ingredients

serves 6
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets, cut in serving pieces
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
small bunch fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 tablespoon herb vinegar
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 small red chili pepper (chile pequin)

method

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and saute the onion until it is transparent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the fish and saute until flesh is firm, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, then cover the pan and simmer over a very low heat so the liquid barely moves for 1 hour.

4. Remove fish pieces to a dish and pour cooking liquid over. Serve with rice.

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