2. In a large skillet, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and mustard seeds. Cook for just about 20 seconds, stirring so that the oil evenly coats the spices. Add the ginger, garlic, chiles, onion, cayenne, and curry leaves or lime juice. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove fish from the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and transfer to the skillet along with the spices. Gently stir until the fish is coated on all sides. Add the coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, tomato, and grated coconut, if using. Gently stir; cover. Cook over medium heat until the fish is opaque and firm, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Transfer the fish to a heated-serving platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Variation: You can substitute 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast for the fish, but increase the cooking time from 5 minutes to 8 to 10 minutes.
When Marvin Gapultos had a craving for adobo but didn’t know how to make it, he decided to learn his family’s recipes. Since then, he has shared the flavors of Filipino food through his Los Angeles-based food truck The Manila Machine, on his blog Burnt Lumpia, and in The Adobo Road Cookbook.