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Recipe for :

Meen Kolumbu - Red Snapper with Curry Leaves Flavor

This recipe comes from Vikas Khanna an Indian chef now living and teaching as well as cooking in New York.

When asked to give a brief summary of how he came to be where he is today this is what Vikas had to say:

I was born in the holy city of Amritsar, India. I did not have to try different jobs to understand and decide out about my profession. I just wanted to be in the food business from the very childhood. At the age of ten, I started creating my own recipes and ways to present them. I ran my own banquets at the age of sixteen and wanted to develop my passion professionally. I graduated from the prestigious WelcomGroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration. During this period I was trained under some of the top Food Authorities of India at the flagship hotels of Sheraton, Taj, WelcomGroup, Oberoi, Kempinski, Cater to Cater and Essex banquets. After gaining enough experience I took my business, with the help of my family, to one of the most popular banquets and catering services in North India. Lawrence Gardens is one of the favorite banquets in Punjab.

During this period I had hundreds of opportunities to take my concept of banquets all over the country. While, I was focusing to take my profession Internationally I moved to New York City in 2000 and studied at some of the major Culinary Institutes in the US like Culinary Institute of America, Massachusetts Culinary Arts, New School, New York University and lots more. I served as The Executive Chef of the Salaam Bombay Restaurant, New York and was appreciated for my culinary genius by press from all over the world and my gastronomic peers. Today I have affiliations from The James Beard Foundation, New York University, Cornell University, Wall Street Rising, Taste of Tribeca, Just One Break, International Association of Culinary Professionals, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Johnson and Wales University, New York Public Library and many more.

Vikas has his own web site which contains additional information <click here>

"Curry leaves have nothing to do with curry powder. They are tropical leaves with a very strong flavor, just a few leaves change the flavor of the curry. This sweet and sour sauce brings out the wonderful flavor of the fish".


5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 3/4 cup finely sliced onions
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
15 fresh curry leaves
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoons jaggery or brown sugar
salt to taste
1 pound thick fillet of red snapper
3 fresh curry leaves for garnish


  • Heat two tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add coriander seeds, cayenne pepper and fenugreek seeds and sauté until the spices change their color, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the sliced onions and fry until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Remove and spread the mixture on a tray to cool.
  • Transfer the onion mixture into a food processor or a blender and grind it to a fine paste. Add the tamarind pulp and a little water to make it smooth.
  • In a large skillet heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry.
  • As soon as they begin to pop, about 3 minutes add the curry leaves, minced garlic and turmeric. Add the ground onion paste and stir well.
  • Add water to make a sauce consistency.
  • Add jaggery and salt and bring it to boil.
  • Remove any scum from surface with a slotted spoon and then gently place the red snapper.
  • Cook until the fish fillet is fully cooked and flakes easily, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer it to a serving dish and garnish with fresh curry leaves.

Serves 6

Vikas Khanna