Fish with Spicy Lentil Dal

Who can fail to like dal!? It’s one of those simple foods that just keeps on giving. It’s perfect as a sauce, like in this dish with flaky white fish fillets. A lovely earthy spicy finish to the succulent fish. Very refreshing and pretty healthy too!

4 x white fish fillets (cod, haddock kingfish etc.) (skinned and boned)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small tomato (chopped)
1 tablespoon coriander (chopped)

For the sauce:
1 cup split red lentils
1 shallot (finely sliced)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
2cm piece fresh ginger (finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 small onion (finely chopped)
10-12 fresh curry leaves
2-4 hot green chillies (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt & pepper

To make the sauce, in a saucepan, combine the lentils, shallot, garlic, ginger, ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric with 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 40-60 minutes until soft and creamy.

Heat a small pan with the oil and when hot, drop in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. When they start to pop cover the pan and when they seem to have stopped, tip in the onions and green chillies. Stir well for 3-4 minutes over a medium high heat until the onions have browned. Remove from the heat and spoon into the lentils. Stir well and remove from the heat. Season with plenty salt and pepper.

To cook the fish, Sprinkle each fillet with a little turmeric and salt on each side. Heat a frying pan with the oil over a medium/high heat till just hot. Add the fillets and cook for 2-4 minutes either side depending on their thickness until cooked through. Rest for 1 minute, then serve.

Spoon some sauce over the fish and sprinkle with fresh coriander. Serve with rice or vegetables.

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