Hand-Me-Down Catfish Curry

By |2019-02-10T12:36:16+00:00February 23rd, 2018|Roam Economics|1 Comment

One of the perks of boat life is fresh fish. It’s also one of the challenges of boat life. It is possible to have too much fish.

When our boat neighbor Captain Steve of the Bingo B. brought us a huge catfish fillet, I had no idea what to do with it.

Okay. Before I go any farther, let me just make a confession. I’m not a huge fan of seafood. I’ve never liked fish in anything. In general, if it’s not fried, I ain’t eating it.

The exception to that is curry. Because I got tricked by the Tandoori Chicken, a tucked away Indian joint that used to exist on Canal Blvd in New Orleans. I would never have eaten a fish curry if I’d known it was a fish curry*. But it was fish curry, and it was amazing. So I thought, why not give catfish curry a try? Not a bad use of a hand-me-down fish.

As with most Shanti recipes, I use The Formula I’ve discussed elsewhere.

Hand-Me-Down Catfish Curry


Don’t take a step until you prep! That’s the motto aboard the Sea Shanti anyhow. You’ll need:

  • Catfish Filet, cubed
  • Canned tomatoes, crushed
  • Yellow Onion, diced
  • Red Pepper, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Curry Powder
  • Cumin
  • Powdered Red Pepper
  • Ginger
  • Paprika
  • Red Wine
  • Sour Cream


Heat oil in your Instant Pot using the sauté feature.


Add a healthy portion of curry powder and cumin along with some ginger powder**, red pepper, and paprika to your taste. If you’ve got turmeric, that’d be great, too, Fancy Pants. Let the spices infuse the oil and really get the joint smelling scrumptious.


Toss in onions, salt liberally to draw out the juices, and sauté.


If you’re feeling spicy, throw in diced pepper for an extra kick. Whatever pepper speaks to you, baby. I’m not here to boss you. I use red usually because it’s pretty.

Once the onions soften a smidge, add garlic. Q: How much garlic? A: How much do you like garlic?


Go ahead and turn the sauté function off for these next steps to prevent any burning. Add a little liquid but not too much. How much you add depends on how soupy you like your curry. Remember you’re going to add crushed tomatoes, which will up the juicy factor. You could use vegetable broth or chicken broth, but I usually use about a swashbuckle of red wine, which is to say about a cup minus a hearty swig. I’ve always got red wine on hand. It’s usually open while I’m cooking. Ergo, it is in heavy rotation in all recipes including some varieties of Proletarioats.


Add the catfish cubes.


Add the tomatoes and the juice from the can.


Pressure cook for 5 minutes.


Temper sour cream with the pot likker, then stir it in a spoonful at a time to make the curry creamier. (If you throw the sour cream in straight out of the fridge, it’s liable to break apart. It’s still edible, but not as pretty.) If you’ve got fresh cilantro, spruce your curry up with a few sprigs.

What else?

I love to have some naan on hand to go with curry, and we eat jasmine rice with just about every meal. Cooking it in the Instant Pot is easy and no-fail.

*Look. Don’t judge me. You’ve got hang-ups, too.

**Yeah. Fresh ginger is probably better, but we’re living on a boat with no galley here, okay?

About the Author:

Autumn Ware lives aboard the Sea Shanti, a 1974 Cooper Seabird sailboat, with her husband, teenage son, a dog, and two cats. She’s in the throes of writing the second adventure novel in her Perilous and Sparks series, and she's the Big Chief Copywriter at Aware Copywriting.

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