My favourite thing about the fish ‘basa’ is that autocorrect, my mum, the postman, and almost every other resident of the United Kingdom believes that I mean ‘bass’. I do not. I mean basa. It’s a kind of catfish, it’s absolutely awesome smoked, and it’s generally much cheaper than cod or haddock; it’s become more popular as a result of our search for more sustainable alternatives.
It also holds up gosh darned well in a curry.*
When it comes to curry, I can’t help but think that the people eating Vindaloo have something to prove… I, on the other hand, like my tongue without chilli burns (and I do know what I’m avoiding) – I personally like to enjoy my food, rather than suffering through it.
What I’m trying to say is that this curry isn’t for the thrill-seeker; it’s for the proud wimps and chickpea-loving fiends (such as myself), who are eating a curry in no small part because they’re low-key addicted to naan bread.
Naan bread isn’t a vehicle for curry… no, my friends. It’s quite the other way round. Nonetheless I’ve put some effort into this recipe and I hope you enjoy it, regardless of the carbohydrate you use to get it to your mouth.
Roasted Chickpea & Basa Curry (Pescatarian, Gluten-free)
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Large frying/saucepan with a lid; spatula or wooden spoon; roasting tray lined with greaseproof paper; blender and jug; sieve or fine colander; a cutting board, knife, and a banging soundtrack.
- 350g skinless basa fillets (or any other firm white fish)
- 1 large red onion
- 1cm cube fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 small courgettes/1 large
- 400g tin chickpeas
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Pinch chilli flakes
- Salt & pepper
- 100ml + splash of water
- Cooking spray/splash of oil
- Naan bread
- Get your pan on a medium-high heat with the cooking spray or oil, and turn your oven to 200°C to pre-heat. Drain and rinse your chickpeas, then shake or pat them dry. Arrange in an even layer on a lined baking sheet, then mist with cooking spray (or drizzle over oil) and sprinkle over the turmeric and paprika. Shake the tray so that everything is coated, then put in the oven for 10-15 minutes to roast.
- Finely dice the onion, garlic and ginger, then add to the pan with the chilli flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything has softened and the ginger is fragrant; if it starts sticking, add a splash of water to the pan. Once softened, scrape everything into the jug, add a splash more water and the tomato puree, and blitz with a hand blender (just put it straight in the blender if you’re using the standalone kind) until you have a smooth-ish paste.
- Top & tail your courgettes, then cut them lengthways in half, then in half again. Dice them fairly finely, but leave the pieces big enough that they’ll have some substance once the curry is done. Add the courgette to the pan with a little more salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes or until browning and almost softened. Check the chickpeas halfway through this time and take them out if they’re nicely coloured.
- Add the paste back to the pan with the courgettes, along with the tinned tomatoes, stock cube, 100ml water, and the chickpeas, and give everything a stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through, while you deal with the fish. Cut the basa into bite-sized pieces and remove any skin, then wash your fishy goddamn hands. Honestly.
- Press the fish into the surface of the curry so that the pieces are partially submerged in the sauce. Put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes, then stir the fish in and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and starting to flake.** Add the crème fraîche, stir once more and serve with naan bread and/or rice. How many carbohydrates can you fit on a plate? Only time will tell.
I took a lot of progress pictures because I got over-excited – hopefully they’ll be helpful to you, even if you’ve seen more artistic park fences.
How do you like your curry? Spicy? Covered in a blanket of chopped coriander? Doused in coconut milk and served alongside every Indian-inspired side dish on God’s green earth? I hope you won’t be disappointed by this, but realistically somebody’s going to be. Try to let me down gently. I am but human.
*I’m trying to swear less. It’s terrible.
**If you tell me I’m a poet and I don’t know it, I want you to know that I do know it, so that we can both know it and be done with it all.