5 tablespoons mustard oil* or vegetable oil, divided
4 green cardamom pods, crushed*
3 small bay leaves
1 teaspoon panch phoran**
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 green chiles, pricked with a fork
2 rounded tablespoons ginger paste* (make your own by crushing or blending fresh ginger to a rough paste, adding water, if necessary, to loosen)
2 large cloves garlic, blended to a paste with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chile powder
Pinch paprika, optional
14 ounces water
1 pound 5 ounces sea bream, cleaned, pin bones removed, flesh cut into 1-inch pieces
10 ounces basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions, for serving
*Can be found at specialty Asian markets. **A blend of equal quantities of fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin and mustard seeds, available from Asian supermarkets, also known as Bengali five-spice. Using fish heads in your curry will really enhance the flavor. If you find them offensive at the table, just leave them in the cooking pot and serve the rest of the fish.
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