Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to make an inexpensive FISH dinner.

Quick update, just wanted to send a shout out to Jen over at, for being awesome enough to feature my recipe on her blog today. Thank You girl, her blog is INCREDIBLE, please check it out and show her some love too!!

So while at Kroger the other day, I picked up 3 packs of Mahi Mahi, on sale. I like to make fish curry a lot, and when making a dish like that, your fish can go a long way.

Here is my breakdown of the dishes I created with just under 2lbs of fish. :)

Oh btw, I am NOT a recipe person, so this was actually a very hard way for me to cook, so I tried  my best in writing down a recipe, but I also hate binding you all to a recipe. So I think I am going to do it a little different, and plus I made like 4 meals with this fish, so kinda hard doing 4 recipes without getting everyone confused. So try to pay attention, and HAVE FUN.

Please not that this was not a 30 minute meal, but rather took me about 2 hours. (Not bad considering how many dishes, I made, and the fact that I was trying to write my recipe, take pics, and deal with my hungry family, asking when is the food going to be ready.) So before you get started, look at all the pics, and do as much prep work before hand, then get started. It shouldn't take much more than an hour at most, with everything ready to go. Enjoy!
  • 2 lbs firm fish ( i used mahi mahi) reg $13.13--on sale $7.65
  • 3-4 onions
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • frozen green beans (please use whatever you have on hand, fresh or frozen)
  • some coconut milk (I prefer the lite kind)
  • canned beans (whatever you have is fine)
  • rice (or pasta, or chappati (an indian bread similar to tortillas) or EVEN a crispy loaf of bread)
  • cilantro leaves 
  • curry leaves
  • tons of spices (look below)

It's really hard to believe that all of this can turn into so much food, but it did. I'll show you how!
This is the kind of stuff my family deals with on a regular basis, I rarely ever cook the same exact thing twice.
I am always creating new combinations, and sometimes it works, and rarely it doesn't.

In this example, I had to use up those green beans as one of my kids decided to tear it open, and leave it.
They were starting to get freezer burn, so rather than freak out, and throw them out, I added them, and they were good.
Also you will notice leftover rice, one less thing to worry about, I always make extra.
I already removed the skin on the fish, and diced up 4 of the pieces, leaving 2 whole.
I have cilantro (corriander leaves), on the bottom, and CURRY leaves on the fish (found at indian grocery stores)
The lovely spices, that made this possible. I love Indian Food, and all the spices,  I use them in most of my food.
Im not going to tell you what they are, I have everything labeled so you can see. I will try my best to tell you
how much I used in the following pics, as I begin cooking. This is how I follow recipes, if I ever use one, and think
it's much easier then telling quantities at the beginning. I promise just get all your spices ready, have a small
teaspoon on hand, and follow along, you will do fine.
Ok like I said, just follow along with me, and you will see my style of cooking.   I am working on several dishes
at once, so don't worry about what goes with what just do what I say in the pics OK.

Add the following to a small bowl.
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp chilli powder ( adjust to your taste, I love my food spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste (or make your own, I usually use one thats already mixed in a paste)
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek crushed
Mix this together and add the fish, mix around, then put fish in a smaller bowl.
Add green beans, or other veggie, and coat with remaining mixture, and let both just be happy for a while. 
Now get to chopping girl, or you could have done this earlier too.
Chop up 3 onions regular. Slice half of another, and finely chop the other half.
In most Indian dishes it calls for something called tempuring,  this can be done at the beginning, or sometimes
at the end of a meal to add the final touch. In this case it's done at the beginning.
Add a little oil (maybe 2 tsp) in a hot pan,  then add your curry leaves, a pinch of mustard seeds, and a pinch of
cumin seeds, and let sizzle and pop. Then add your onions. Add the entire big pile of diced onions.
Add a pinch of salt to help them sweat (med heat until they get glossy and translucent).
Add 2tsp ginger garlic paste, and continue to saute on med to low heat. Add dashes of water if it begins to stick. 
Now that my onions are caramelized, I have added about 1/4 of them to another pan, starting my other dish.
To the pan on the left add the following-
1 1/2 tsp corriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

I added the rest of my spices to the marinade remember. 
Time to add my masala ( combination of spices) to make this a yummy fish curry.
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder (again adjust to your liking)
  • 2 1/2 tsp corriander powder ( this helps thicken the whole things up)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchur powder (I forgot to take a pic of this. It's raw mango powder, and gives a slight sourness to the dish. Which I really like.)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper ( again adds a tang, my mother in law started adding a dash to all her dishes when she came for a visit, and I have been doing it ever since.)
Now mix, and you will probably want to add more oil at this point, but no need just add a dash of water, and let it
saute some more. Let it get pretty mushy, and then you go to the next step.
So you can see my other onions still chilling over there. Just let them chill. Dice up your tomatoes,
separate accordingly, about 1/2 of a roma I sliced instead of diced, and put next to the sliced onions.
It does make a difference when you eat a meal, if the onions and tomatoes, have been sliced or diced,
so do try to follow the steps I have showed you.
I've now added 3/4 of my diced tomatoes to the dish on the right, and the rest 1/4 on the left.  Now just let it simmer.
Don't rush this step, as you want everything to get really mushy, and do it on a lower heat, so it doesn't burn.
Again adding only enough water to prevent it from sticking. 
This is the pan on the left. I've just added the fish that was marinating in the bowl.
Be careful so the fish doesn't stick. If it does add a dab of oil at this point, instead of water. I want my fish to fry a  bit,
and not boil, or be steamed you know what I mean. Just a dab, and only if you really need it. 
My masala is almost ready, at this stage you can mash the mixture with the back of a spoon, and it should
all fall apart, as in the tomatoes will completely blend in making a paste.  Add a little more water, and simmer.
To my fish fry, I have added 3/4 of my green beans, and 3/4 of my canned beans. Now I mix everything together
and let it mellow in that yummy sauce. It should start releasing some of the water from the frozen green beans,
just let it simmer, until it becomes kind of dry again, I don't want this to have a sauce, but be a dry fish fry.
When ready to plate your dish, squeeze some fresh lemon juice on there. It is so tasty, you'll love it. 
The rest of the beans are waiting for a quick stir fry without the hot spice of the other dish. This will be
the side dish for the kids, and they can't handle the heat like my hubby and I can.
After adding about 1 1/2 cups water I let it simmer to a boil, and then added my fish. The rest of the pieces I  had cut.
Mix everything well, and let it simmer away, slowly, on low heat. Does not take long, fish cooks fast.
I let mine simmer maybe 10 more minutes at this point, then really reduced the heat, just to let the fish chill,
and absorb the curry. The smell at this point was amazing. My husband was salivating just waiting to eat. 
I added some rosemary garlic seasoning to the 2 other pieces, and am now ready to cook those.   
Looks good doesn't it? This is enough to serve 4 people easily. 
Adding about 1/4 can of coconut milk to my fish curry. Do not have a high flame for this, low heat, and just
another minute or two. Does not need to cook much longer. Add a heaping handful of chopped cilantro.
Look at that! Yummy!!!!

Quickly cook the other 2 pieces. I choose to add a tsp of oil and cooked them  for
a  couple minutes  on both side, until firm and flaky. Not too long, you want it to be juicy still.
One of the fish pieces, and those green beans you know. I cooked just until hot.
Doesn't look like alot, but all 3 of my kids ate out of this. The fish was enough for all of them.
I plated it and it looks like one serving, but it was way more.
That other piece of fish, got chopped up for my last dish. A yummy fish salad.
I added that finely chopped onion, AND
  • 1 celery rib, diced finely
  • 1 green onion finely sliced
  • several dashes of tapatio
  • a few olives, sliced
  • 2 tsp mayo
  • small squeeze of mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of lemon juice
Ta Da Yet another meal. Everyone really loved this one!

Dinner is served. Well it was lunch for us! All five of us ate from this, and then my mom came
over from church, she also ate. I still had leftovers. Enough of the 
FISH FRY AND FISH CURRY for my hubby and I to eat another meal.
MAHI MAHI TUNA SALAD did not make it, and got devoured by everyone. 
You can also see the simple onion and tomato salad I served. No dressing just some lemon juice. 

Now thats what I call a feast. I don't know about you guys but I love to eat fish. You have to 
admit however that it is kind of costly, especially if you serve it up whole. So from what little I had, I was able to creatively create 4 meals and I had everything on hand in my pantry. 
The cost of these meal, was $7.65 for the fish. 
Ok you can add the other things too, I bet if you look around your kitchen you will have
most of the things I used, so you would only have to go buy some fish. 

I will be doing a post on what a well stocked pantry looks like, so you will always be prepared to cook. 
My pantry staples are always on hand, with plenty to spare. I always buy extra of things I use often, or can be added to anything to create a new dish. 

Look forward to sharing with you all my tips on pantry staples next time. 

Until then get cooking, you can do it. 

Hope you enjoyed!

Please share with me-
  1. What's your favorite kind of fish, how often do you eat fish?
  2. Do you cook it at home, or eat it out?
  3. Have you ever tried making a fish curry, or eaten one before?


  1. Bella... I don't even eat fish and that still looks DELICIOUS!!!

    And I can't follow recipes to the T either... I like to throw in my own combinations and keep testing .... by the end of the dish, I usually don't know what amounts went in there... LOL!

  2. So glad you liked it. You could follow all the steps and substitute, for paneer, or tofu. Hope you try it sometime. :)

  3. Wow girl! My mouth's watering here! Let see I might try something too....

    I'm going to forward this to some friends...

  4. Mmmm! This looks fantastic. I don't buy fish much at home, but I like it when I eat out. I had a terrific catfish this week at Texas Roadhouse.

    from Trash to Treasure Decorating

  5. Michelle, you should def try cooking it some time,,, while this meal was pretty time consuming, cooking fish is one of the fastest meals to cook. SOOOO much cheaper than eating out, although nothing beats going out to dinner once in a while.

  6. My mouth is watering! It looks delicious! Your pictures are great & I'm your newest follower!:)

  7. Staci, Thank you so much, I hope you try it out soon, and let me know how it turned out!!!

  8. This looks like it would be worth waiting for no matter how long it took to cook it. Thank you for sharing these recipes for Favorite Things Sat. laurie

  9. This looks soooo good! After doing the post about Komali's book, I HAD to go eat Indian food on Monday. I was craving it! I am sooo impressed that you made this from scratch! It looks and sounds wonderful!

  10. This is enough to make a NON fish person, like myself give it another go! Fantastic presentation and the price can't be beat.

    Do you have a local Indian or international food store that you get your spices, etc. from?

    Dr. Laura

  11. I am a new follower of ur blog.I have got a new indian recipe.thanks for sharing


I LOVE comments. I also LOVE visiting your blog, so please leave a CLICKABLE LINK to your blog post by using the following code!!

<a href="link to your url, or direct blog post"> what you want your link to say </a>

P.S. Thanks BUNCHES for reading my blog and leaving a NICE comment :)

Hugs, Bella

My photo
In my spare time I enjoy cooking, and baking. In fact my mother and I have been making cakes for over 30 years. I also love gardening, traveling, and all things crafty. I struggle daily to keep my like organized, along with my never ending battle to keep the house clean. I adore my three kids MOST of the time, and can usually be found doing the mom thing from morning till night. I try to catch a few mommy moments, but those are hard to find in this wonderful life of mine. I am blessed and happy, and am thrilled you stopped by today :)