Firstly, let me mention that my photo here is not the most enticing. It was dark, and the sauce is a dark reddish-brown colour, not not the most eye-catching colours for food photography. But don’t let the image put you off this extremely tasty dish! A couple of years ago, I was out for lunch with some colleagues and I ate the most delicious cod dish with masala sauce. So this inspired me to try to make my own version of spiced masala cod, including my own masala paste from scratch (in the past, I’d buy a jar)
Masala is a selection of spices traditionally used in Indian cuisine. For this recipe, I use garam masala (and already mixed-up blend of spices) plus additional spices to add a more intense flavour. I really didn’t know how this would turn out as I took inspiration from several different places, and I am not by any means a professional chef or au fait with Indian cuisine (apart from eating it at restaurants every now and then). But was surprised at how tasty and authentic it turned out, and nothing like the stuff from a jar!
For those of you that don’t know, spices have an array of health benefits including helping to reduce inflammation (turmeric), improving insulin sensitivity blood sugar control, and blood pressure (cinnamon), heart health (garlic), nausea (ginger) and even pain (cayenne pepper). Although there is evidence to support these claims, not all evidence concluded with the same results, and putting evidence aside, spices should be added to a healthy lifestyle and not purely relied on to avoid or control any medical conditions. So take that with a pinch of salt (or not if you have high blood pressure).
This sauce is very versatile, and like with most Indian sauces, it can be paired with anything, from prawns to chicken or beef, paneer cheese or butternut. But I chose to add cod (to try and recreate that dish I mentioned earlier) which was a really good combination and paired it with rice and a side of green beans and broccoli. The recipe for the paste makes enough for two meals (no, you won’t be using all of the paste) if feeding 2-3 people, so you can save some in an airtight jar for around 5-7 days, or freeze if you don’t want to use it up that week. Make double if you want to make a larger amount to save. I hope you like it as much as I did!
Recipe details for Tomato Spiced Masala Cod
Serving size: Serves 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 2 – 3 cod fillets (skinless and boneless)
- Serve with rice or roti’s & side of veg
- Coriander for garnish (optional)
- 2 Tbs garam masala
- 1/2 Tbs turmeric
- 1/2 Tbs cumin
- 1/2 Tbs chilli flakes or powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 brown onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbs grated ginger
- Lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 1 tsp rapeseed oil (for cooking)
- 1 cup passata or tinned tomatoes
- 1/2 tin light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
Step 1: In a food processor, blitz up the onion, garlic, and ginger along with all the spices and lemon juice until it becomes a thick paste. if you get this sort of smooth – great! If it’s chunky, that is fine too. Now is a good time to get your rice on the go and any extra side of veg.
Step 2: Drizzle a little oil to a wok or pan and allow to heat. Once the pan and oil are hot, add 1/2 of your masala paste mix (saving the other half for another day. If you prefer this to be milder, use less paste). Heat the paste, stirring around the pan for 4-5 minutes.
Step 3: Next, add in the passata (or pureed tinned tomato) and mix with the paste. You can add some water to make it a little thinner if needed. Cook and stir for 5 to 10 minutes and then stir in the coconut milk.
Step 4: Place your whole cod fillets into the sauce and scoop some sauce over the top of it. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until the cod easily flakes.
Step 5: Serve with rice and steamed veg. And there you have it! Spiced masala cod. Yum! Alternatively, use prawns or another protein option instead of cod, and cook some veg in the sauce.