1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh curry leaves
15 garlic cloves, smashed
4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and julienned (1/4 cup)
4 long hot green chiles, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
1 cup tomato puree or one 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes with juice, pureed in a food processor
Six 6-ounce skinless tilapia fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- In a very large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the curry leaves and cook over moderately low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, ginger and chiles and cook for 5 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tamarind and tomato purees and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Season the tilapia fillets with salt and black pepper and nestle them in the sauce. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, turning once, until the fish is just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to plates and spoon the sauce on top. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve.