Friday, 18 November 2011

Malaysian Fish Curry

I am finally able to make a fish curry- my other half doesn't think that fish should be used in a curry as it spoils the flavour of the fish, but I disagree. He also doesn't like fish that much which makes it even harder to convince him. So, I am very pleased to say that he is out on the town tonight, and so a fish curry is on the menu!

After scanning a few recipes I decided to make Malaysian fish curry. This is not normally something I would make because I don't like desiccated coconut. This ingredient isn't in the same league as boiled eggs – (see more on the ‘About Me’ page), so I have decided that I should push my boundaries when it comes to foods I don't really like. How can I talk about something if I don't like it or have never tried it.

The list of ingredients is a little long, but don't be put off, as this makes a flavoursome and colourful curry, without being too hot (actually that part depends on you and your heat limits).

I would have used cod, but as there have been a few campaigns to get us to eat more sustainable fish I decided to use Coley. It's very similar to cod with the same white firm texture but about half the price. The only thing is the bones, but they are very easy to remove if you have some tweezers. A fish that I think will be seen a lot more in our house.

500g/1¼lb firm-textured fish fillet, (I used Coley)
2.5ml/½tsp salt
50g/2oz/⅔cup desiccated (dry and unsweetened) coconut
6 shallots or small onions
6 blanched almonds
2-3 cloves of garlic
2.5cm/1” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1-3 fresh red and green chillies, seeded
2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed
10ml/2tsp ground turmeric
45ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 x 400g/14oz cans of coconut milk
salt and pepper for seasoning
fresh chives for garnish (optional)

Dry heat the coconut in a pan, stirring continuously so as not to burn. Keep stirring until the coconut is golden and crispy. Place into a food processor and blitz until it becomes an oily paste, then place to one side

Put the shallots, almonds, garlic and ginger into the food processor and blend until a paste.

Cut cm/2” off the lemon grass, remove the outer layer, chop up and place it into the food blender. Also add the chillies. Blend until finely cut up into the paste. Then add the turmeric and blend again until it's all together until the turmeric is completely mixed into the paste.

Add the oil to the frying pan and heat. Add the paste for a few minutes stirring continuously sp as not to brown the paste. Throw in the cans of coconut milk, stirring to mix all together. Bash the left over lemon grass and also add to the wok. Very slowly heat up the curry sauce, stirring occasionally ensuring the coconut milk doesn't split (coconut milk will split if you heat it too quickly or the sauce becomes too hot). Cook the sauce for about 30 minutes and then removed all the lemon grass stalks.

For the last 10 minutes, cut the fish fillets into 2.5cm/1” pieces, sprinkle some salt over then put to one side.

When ready add the fish and cook for 5 minutes and add the coconut paste (you can moisten the paste by adding a little water) and cook for another 5 minutes. Add any seasoning you require. Serve with plain boiled rice and add some freshly chopped chives.

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