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Monday, August 5, 2013

Nigella's Keralan Fish Curry

It rained this morning, yes it was raining cats and dogs. You must wondering if I'm nuts to even talk about this since rain or shine is a normal day affair in Singapore. On my mind, I was thinking about the past 2 months where there was the threat of haze returning. Then when it rained this morning, I was giving thanks to God as it did mean that each time it rained, haze is further away from us. I do hope so. 

Hence, with the cooling weather from that rain, I naturally thought of cooking Nigella's Keralan Fish Curry with some lemon rice to go with it. I found this recipe from Nigella Fresh. Check out my next post for the recipe of lemon rice. See my modifications in blue.

Ingredients:
  • 1.25 kilograms firm white fish (I used batang fish)
  • salt to taste
  • teaspoons turmeric powder
  • tablespoon vegetable oil
  • medium onions (halved and cut into fine half moons)
  • long red chillies (seeds removed or you can use chilli padis)
  • cm piece of fresh root ginger
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk (for health reasons, I used low-fat milk)
  • tablespoon tamarind (or 2 tablespoons concentrated)
  • tablespoon fish stock concentrate (I used 1 fish stock cube although Nigella says to use only half if you are using)
Method:
  1. Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks, put them into a large bowl, and rub with a little salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric. (I didn't cut the fish into chunks as the batang fish is already nicely sliced)
  2. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and peel and tip in your fine half-moons of onion; sprinkle them with a little salt to stop them browning and then cook, stirring, until they've softened; this should take scarcely 5 minutes.
  3. Cut the whole, unseeded chillies into thin slices across (although if you really don't want this at all hot, you can deseed and then just chop them) and then toss them into the pan of softened onions. 
  4. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them too, along with the remaining teaspoon of turmeric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions for a few minutes.
  5. Pour the tin of coconut milk into a measuring jug and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste and the fish stock concentrate, using boiling water from the kettle to bring the liquid up to the litre mark. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you want to. And actually you can do all this hours in advance if this helps.
  6. When you are absolutely ready to eat, add the fish to the hot sauce and heat for a couple of minute until it's cooked through but still tender.

Notes:
  • For step 5, I boiled water and then poured into a bowl with tamarind paste. When you do that, you will get cloudy brownish tamarind water. This is a diluted version but I guess this is the best way to remove the tamarind seeds. If you are using tamarind water like me, use as many tablespoons of it as you deem fit.
  • Do note that the fish can be pretty delicate so only add when you are ready to eat as fish cooks pretty fast and you wouldn't want to overcook the fish.

Literally, all the fish and its condiments in the curry were gone. Every drop of curry was slurped (if there's a word like this) up, drank up and gone. Mr G just showed me a big thumbs up when he did that. That was the best affirmation I got ;P

I'm going to submit this post to Cook like a Star where the Star for this month is Nigella Lawson. Cook Like A Star is an event organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and the co-hosts for this month are Anuja from Simple Baking and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. Do join us by cooking or baking any of Nigella's recipes for the month of August but do remember that it must be a current post. Don't forget to mention 'Cook like a Star' in your posts.

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