Hyderabadi Fish With Sesame Sauce

READY IN: 40mins




  • Combine the chile powder, turmeric, coconut and coriander in a small dish.
  • Place a cast-iron pan over medium high heat, add the sesame seeds, and stir and cook until they start to jump and emit a roasted aroma.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the combined spices from Step 1.
  • Roast and stir the spices, off the heat, for another minute.
  • Empty the roasted spices in to a bowl, allow to cool, then grind in batches until a fine texture (some of the sesame seeds may remain whole – do not worry about this).
  • In a large frying pan, add oil to a depth of 1/8” and heat over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, add the onions and stir and saute 10 to 12 minutes until reddish brown, reducing the heat as necessary.
  • Remove onion from pan, ensuring as much oil as possible remains in the pan, and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Reserve 3 tablespoons of the oil.
  • Place the fried onions, along with the peanut butter, ginger, garlic, 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste, the salt.
  • and 1 cup of hot water into a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • Run a spatula down the sides of the blender, stir, then blend briefly again before tasting and add a little extra salt or tamarind as you think fit.
  • Heat the reserved oil in a large, wide, non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin, allow the mustard seeds to splutter (just a few seconds) then take the pan off the heat and add the curry leaves and the blended sauce.
  • Swish the second cup of hot water around in the blender container, then add to the sauce in the pan.
  • Lightly season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and slip them gently into the sauce in a single layer.
  • Simmer gently over low heat until the fish is cooked, about 5 minutes, basting from time to time.
  • Thin the sauce with a little water if it seems too thick, and season with a little brown sugar as desired.
  • Note: The sauce can be prepared ahead and frozen or refrigerated until needed.