Keralan Fish Curry with Clove Scented Rice
I have been wanting to do a fish curry for absolutely ages but was never really sure what type of sauce would go. I wanted something not too heavy, not too light……I wanted the Goldie Locks of curry sauces…..I wanted juuust right. Well, after much research, deliberation and collaboration, I think I found it. Creamy, tangy and fresh with a little background heat but not enough to overpower the succulent and juicy fish fillets….. This one was a success, all three of my bears were pretty happy!
Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes $$ Medium Budget
Olive oil for frying
800gm of firm white fish fillets (I used fresh Ling which is on the more reasonable side and was delicious)
5cm pieces of ginger, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp of yellow mustard seeds
12 curry leaves*
1 brown onion, halved and sliced top to bottom
1 long green chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed if you don’t want it too spicy)
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1/2 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of ground coriander
400gm tin of coconut milk
1 tbs of tamarind paste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp of sugar
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bag of baby spinach leaves
1 cup of coriander leaves
Green chilli slices, coriander leaves and lemon wedges for garnish
Store bought Roti Breads*
For the Rice:
11/2 cups of rice
3 cups of water
Sea salt and pepper
Heat a large frypan or pot and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop and then add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilli, onion and curry leaves. Stir fry until the onion is tender. Add the turmeric, ground coriander and ground chilli powder and fry for a further minute or until the scent of the spices is quite strong. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice , sugar and a generous sprinkling of salt and stir well to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. If the mixture is looking too thick, just add a little water and stir.
Place the rice, water, cloves and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once boiling, reduce the heat to very low, pop a lid on and allow to absorb for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes remove from the heat but don’t lift the lid for 6 minutes, at least (this is when the rice steams). Fluff with a fork.
Cut the fish up into fairly large chunks and put it in the curry along with the tomatoes. Allow to simmer for a further 6-8 minutes before adding the tamarind. Stir to combine and have a taste. The balance should be perfect….. not too sour, not too sweet. If either of those things……use your taste buds and adjust with either a squeeze of lemon or a little more sugar.
Finally, stir through the baby spinach and coriander leaves. Divide the rice among four plates and spoon over the curry. Top with coriander leaves and chilli slices and serve with a wedge of lemon and the roti bread.
* You can generally buy curry leaves at your local supermarket in the fruit and veg section. You can order dried curry leaves online from Herbies Spices http://www.herbies.com.au/shop/product.php?productid=163&cat=3&page=6
If you want to take your Roti bread to another level, heat a small frypan and drizzle with oil. Fry on both sides until golden……..soooooo gooood!!