Spiced Catfish with Avocado

Mini Kahlon, a neuroscientist and cooking club member, learned to love communal eating at family dinners in Chandigarh, India. Her bright avocado salad is delicious with her Indian-spiced dish, for a fabulous combination of cool and spicy, crunchy and creamy.


Slideshow: More Easy Indian Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12

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  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups water
avocado salad
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ripe Hass avocados, cut into 1-inch dice
  • Basmati rice, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a skillet, toast the coriander and cumin seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, 1 minute; transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Finely grind. In a bowl, mix the coriander, cumin, thyme, oregano, chile powders, salt, sugar, mace, cinnamon and nutmeg.

  2. In a food processor, puree the onion, garlic and poppy seeds. In a casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion mixture and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the moisture has evaporated and the onion puree begins to brown, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the spice mixture and cook until fragrant.

  3. Arrange the catfish in the casserole in a single layer. Pour in the water, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer the fish to a bowl. Boil the sauce, uncovered, until it has thickened, 5 minutes longer. Return the fish to the casserole and keep warm.

  4. In a large bowl, toss the onion with the lime juice and season with salt. Add the diced avocados and toss.

  5. Scoop the rice into bowls. Spoon the fish on top and serve with the avocado salad.

Suggested Pairing

Off-dry Riesling.

Contributed By Photo © Lucy Schaeffer Published November 2008

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