A kadai (or karahi) is basically an Indian wok but with two round handles on each side. It is a multi-purpose cooking vessel used for anything from stir frying to toasting spices and even deep frying. Most every household has at least one and for an Indian cook, it is absolutely indispensable.
Kadai Stir Fry Fish is more of a dry dish with very little “gravy”. It is very different from a curry but equally delicious. Better still, the leftovers are just perfect for a wrap sandwich the next day.
Any firm fresh fish variety will work for this dish such as snapper, cod, tilapia, sea bass, salmon, flounder, haddock, mahi mahi, sole, monkfish…
KADAI STIR FRIED FISH (Wok Fried Fish with Vegetables)
½ lb firm fish filets (skinless & boneless), cut into 1½” pieces
For the fish:
¼ cup rice flour
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground coriander powder
salt & pepper to taste
For the dish:
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
3-4 small red dried chilies, to taste
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 medium bell pepper (red or green), large dice
1 cup of baby corn
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
oil (vegetable or canola), as needed
juice of ½ a lime
6-8 chives (garlic, onion or lemon chives work well), cut into 1” size pieces or batons
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a mixing bowl, combine the rice flour with the spices (turmeric, paprika ground coriander powder, salt & pepper). Stir well and add the fish pieces, gently toss to coat all the fish evenly in the flour and spices. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes before use.
In a wok or large skillet on medium high heat, add about a tbsp or so of the oil and start browning the fish pieces on all sides. This may be done in batches, so do not over crowd the pan. The fish should be golden brown and crispy on the outside yet still moist and tender on the inside. Then drain well on absorbent paper towels and set aside until needed.
To the same wok or skillet, add another tbsp of oil if needed. When hot, add the onions. Stir fry until slightly browned and then add the dried red chilies, ginger and garlic. Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the spices (turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, red chili powder, salt & pepper). Stir fry for just a minute or so and then add the green bell pepper & baby corn. Stir fry for 2-3 more minutes, the vegetables should still have a little crunch to them - do not overcook them. Now carefully add in the fish pieces and chives. Gently toss to combine all of the ingredients. Finally, garnish with freshly squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with fragrant Basmati rice and hot chapatis or rotis.
Feel free to add your favorite combination of vegetables such as carrots, peas, squash, mushrooms, cherry or grape tomatoes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, zucchini…
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