In my home state of Maharashtra, dry curries or “sukhi bhajis” are very common and contain very little to no gravy. But they are really flavorful dishes similar to quick stir-frys, so you can have a healthy meal on your family’s dinner table in no time. Sukhi bhajis are just perfect for those hectic weeknights or last minute dinner guests.
This basic recipe can be made using your favorite vegetables, paneer, chicken, shrimp, shellfish… or any combination of your favorite ingredients. Just note that the cooking times will vary accordingly.
I have decided to use fish for this recipe, so any firm fish will do such as sea bass, halibut, snapper, tilapia, swordfish, mahi mahi, grouper, flounder, cod, salmon, kingfish…
SUKHI MASACHI BHAJI (Maharashtrian Dry Fish Stir Fry)
1 lb of boneless/skinless fish fillets, cut into 1½” size pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
5-6 fresh curry leaves
½ cup freshly grated coconut (or unsweetened desiccated coconut)
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp kala or goda masala (or you can use garam masala)
1 tsp red chili powder, to taste
2 tsp ground coriander powder
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil (coconut, vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large wide deep nonstick pan or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions and stir fry for just a few minutes before adding in the garlic along with the ginger & green chilies. Let cook until the onions are just beginning to brown, then add in the curry leaves & coconut. Stir well to combine and then add in the spices (turmeric, kala masala, red chili powder, ground coriander powder, salt & pepper). Let the spices & aromatics fry for about 3-4 minutes in the oil. Now very carefully add in the fish and toss gently to combine all of the ingredients. Then cover the pan and let cook for 4-5 minutes or until the fish is completely cooked. Do not overcook the fish, the cooking time will depend upon the variety of fish as well. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve with fresh chapatis & fragrant Basmati rice.
You could very easily turn this dish into a proper curry by adding about a cup or so of either water or coconut milk.