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Tart tamarind and mild, tender fish are a classic pairing in Indian cuisine. Here, the fruit provides a welcome contrast to a spice blend of coriander, chili powder, cumin, fennel seeds, and turmeric. Though the amount of tamarind might initially seem excessive, the sourness actually mellows as the curry simmers, the sauce greedily absorbed by a finishing addition of fluffy white rice.
The dish is traditionally served with fried fish, shrimp, or even squid. In some homes, the fish head is also used in the curry base, ensuring that the whole fish is put to good use. In small hotels that specialize in seafood, the spicy, tangy rassa, or curry, is so popular that it's dished out in unlimited quantities.