Once upon a time I used to eat curry salmon and roti.
But just like tuna sandwiches, before we go on vacation I used to tell mom to ease up on it. Being muslim and eating halaal while on vacation in the USA meant that we were pseudo-ovo-lacto-pescatarian with occasional meat if a masjid had some kind of share programme.
Since I’m not a fish-lover (the smell of baking fish really made me sick and mom seemed to do a lot of it when I was young…now it’s mostly curry and fry), I didn’t want to eat a whole lot of it just before we went away when I would have no choice.
After I broiled a salmon steak in my apartment in Amherst unsuccessfully and lived with the smell in everything for weeks (so it seemed), I wasn’t really able to eat salmon any more (not that I loved it to begin with).
Mom curried salmon for dad yesterday which is what inspired this post.
In March 2001, I was in Amherst and was snowed in. Not only was this my first encounter with snow and a blizzard to boot, but also The Food Network. I happened to be watching an episode of Cooking Live with Sara Moulton which seemed really interesting (a live call-in show? whoa! pity it got cancelled). I don’t recall if it was pre-recorded (as in a rerun or not) but she had a Caribbean woman (or maybe just a Caribbean cook) on it making some Caribbean recipes1.
Anyway, someone called in to ask about curry salmon (because I guess they were currying something1). She said her Trinidadian stepfather used to cook curry salmon and wanted to know if they had a recipe for it. He had said it was an authentic trini dish.
This completely baffled the guest (and maybe Sara Moulton). The guest said that that’s strange, are you sure it’s salmon? Salmon isn’t native to T&T so how would it be a typical dish.
If it were live and if I had phone privileges in my room I should’ve called in and told them…easy! Curry salmon from a tin! Geez. We live on an island yes but we have no problem cooking (even fish) from a tin. And seriously, if you want a quick meal better to curry from a tin than say wait overnight for the dry channa2 to soak!
Actually at that point I probably knew how to cook it and might have helped cook it on the sly before. Now I’ve forgotten.
And although I liked the show I was a bit disappointed. I wanted to know who the lady was and her qualifications or Caribbean experience because how could she not know of Curry Salmon and the widespread use of tinned foods in Trinidad and Tobago.
When mom cooked it yesterday I had to run out of the kitchen at some point because the smell was bothering me. And we had cooked white rice (parboiled and jasmine) in the fridge so he could either eat it with that or some roti.
Mom says whenever visitors stopped by her mom would curry a tin of salmon (and stretch it…potatoes!) so they’d have food to offer.
Dad says whenever visitors stopped by somebody would have to make a quick run to the parlour3 to get sweetdrink.
This is mom’s recipe for Curry Salmon. Even dad can make it:
- 1 large tin of salmon
- 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 small pimentos
- potato (optional)
- pinch of ground geera
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/8 cup water
- Slice tomatoes, onion, garlic, celery, chives and pimento (and potato) thinly
- Heat oil in pot
- Mix curry and geera with water
- Add onions to hot oil and cook until translucent.
- Add curry powder mixture to pot and let it thicken or fry up.
- When curry is fried up, add rest of veggies and seasonings (garlic, chives, celery, tomatoes, pimentos, potato) and let them cook a bit. You may add more water if you like and let it fry up.
- Add salmon (with water from tin) and turn and mix and mash it up
- It’ll be done when the salmon water is all dried up.
Serve with rice or roti or however you wish.
- I found this Caribbean episode of Cooking Live. Not sure if this is it however. Hmm Tomato Choka, Dhaal and Curry Chicken – things we make at home.
- channa – chick peas, garbanzo beans
- parlour – a little shop, called a parlour because traditionally sold out of your parlour i think