What We Cooked This Week: Tuna Curry
Tuna is certainly not the first—or even tenth—fish that comes to mind when one thinks of Indian seafood, but it was a staple growing up in Kerala. Thinking about future supper club menus, I decided to experiment with tuna curry for a weeknight dinner. The sauce’s base is a simple mix of red onion, tomato, tamarind paste, green chiles and curry leaves. The tomato I used is a standard, pale grocery store specimen—its under-ripe tanginess is actually preferable: The juicy, sweet flavors heirloom tomato would be lost on this dish. Meaty beefsteaks or Romas are best.
I ran those ingredients through a blender, and then marinated tuna steaks in the mixture for about 20 minutes before turning it on to simmer. The burst of flavor comes from the final additions—sliced garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and curry leaves heated in coconut oil until they become fragrant and then poured over the curry. Also, I scattered finely minced ginger over the curry right as it finished cooking. The ginger didn’t taste too raw, then, but it gave the dish spicy warmth.
Truth be told, I’ll tweak the curry next time. In Kerala, we simmered the fish in the sauce until the sauce reduced, but I realized our cuts of tuna were much fattier than the ones typically available (and affordable) here. The flavor was right (tangy!), but the tuna was a bit overcooked. Next time, I’ll deconstruct the dish so that the tuna cooks just to a medium-rare, then simmer down the sauce and pour it over the fish right before serving. Translating the tastes of South India to an American kitchen is always an adventure…