The Goan Fish recipe (renamed here) was the first recipe where it was not only confirmed that the original 365 Foreign Dishes cookbook would be full of Orientalism, but it became apparent that the author(s) would be shy to use spice. That said, I was happy to dive in because I had a full side of salmon in my freezer, waiting for something like this.
Content Note: ORIENTALISM and COLONIAL COOKING TERMS.
Goan Fish Challenges
The first challenge was the name of this dish and its ties to the British occupation and exploitation of India. 365 Foreign Dishes was written when Britain still occupied and controlled India; when terms like this were used to differentiate India from another colonial term, the West Indies. India is a diverse country and the distinct cuisines of each state is one represenation of this diversity. I needed to decide which type of Indian cuisine I was going to cook because of the second challenge.
The second challenge being “curry paste” which, like “curry powder,” is not a thing. What Westerners have packaged and sold as “curry powder” is a spice mix that is mostly turmeric and not used in traditional Indian cuisines. When you see either of these terms used in a recipe, you need to figure out which type of masala (spice mix) is appropriate for the dish. Also, “curry” is not a flavour.
Curry is a cooking method. It means to cook in a gravy. The reason why white people started to misuse the word curry is most likely the result of Britons not understanding the different between the word kari which is the Tamil word for sauce, and Kari Patti which is the Hindi word for the tree from which “curry leaves” grow. In many languages spoken in the Indian subcontentant, words and names that begin with a consonant-a-consonant the a is pronounced like the short u in hug. Another fun fact: “curry leaves” are not spicy, which causes a lot of bad reviews on Amazon. While they are used in some masalas, they add an herbal feel to food, and not heat.
Goan Fish Recipe Changes and Decisions
As this is a fish with coconut dish, Goan cuisine was the logical choice to make here. Once I made this decision, the rest of the decisions and changes were easy.
I didn’t make too many changes to the recipe because the method wasn’t too far off. I increased the amount of masala paste to two tablespoons because the dairy, coconut and toast would eliminate any heat and flavour found in one teaspoon. And I’m not afraid of flavour. As Uncle Roger of YouTube fame says, “Use the right amount. Not the white amount.”
I increased the amount of rice. There is no point to adding one heaping tablespoon of rice. I increased the amount to a 1/4 cup and could have easily added more. Also, I made the decision to use hot paprika, though I’m sure the author(s) intended it be sweet paprika, for similar reasons as explained in the Austrian Goulash recipe.
I hemmed and haw over the toast. Putting this dish on toast feels an awful like “beans on toast” to me. It isn’t something indicative of Indian cuisine. I thought about serving with a flatbread or bed of rice instead, but decided to try it on the toast. It wasn’t terrible. But it definitely wasn’t a combo I would do again. I only had one serving with toast. The rest, I ate with rice.
I pressure jarred the rest of the side of salmon that didn’t get used.
The results were “meh” with the toast and great with basmati rice. If I were to make this again, I’d probably add another tablespoon of the Goan masala paste. It was easy enough to make, too. It is one of those things that I could quickly whip up for lunch, if I wanted. Especially if I had frozen salmon fillets or homemade jarred salmon in the pantry.
- 2 small stainless steel bowls or other pressure cooker safe dish
- In the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water. Place the trivet.
- Put the salmon in a pressure-cooker safe bowl. Place the bowl with the salmon on top of the trivet.
- Place and seal the lid. Set to High Pressure for 3 minutes.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. NOTE: Do not let all the pressure naturally release, otherwise you will overcook the salmon. The salmon should still be medium-rare when done. Open the lid. Remove the bowl with the salmon.
- Place the eggs on the trivet.
- Place and seal the lid. Set to High Pressure for 6 minutes.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Open the lid. Remove the eggs and place them in a stainless steel bowl. Fill with ice cold water and let the eggs thoroughly cool before peeling.
- In a rice cooker, place the rice and 90 mL of water. Set to white rice. NOTE: Do not cook in an electric pressure cooker, unless you increase the amount of rice to 1 cup and the water to 1 cup. Set to HP for 4 minutes. Natural relase for 10 minutes.
- Prepare and mise en place the Goan Fish ingredients.
- In a sauce pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add the onions, coconut, and egg. Saute until the onions are transluscent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the milk and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the salmon, masala paste, and paprika. Let it boil for 1-2 minutes until the salmon is fully cooked.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the rice.
- Serve hot on toast. Salt to taste.