Recipe from Warmth

Fish Head Curry


* 1 medium to large sized head of fish, cleaned
* 3-4 tbsp curry powder
* 1-1½ tbsp, or to taste chili powder
* 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
* 5-6 garlic, minced
* 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
* 5-6 curry leaves (optional)
* 2 med fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
* 1½-2 cups brinjal (Japanese eggplant) or small whole okra (ladies’ fingers), cut into 1½ inch pieces
* 2 fresh red or green chili peppers, whole (optional)
* 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
* 4 cups water
* ½ cup coconut milk
* 1 tsp sugar
* salt and pepper
** 2 tsp coriander seeds
** 1½ tsp cumin seeds
** 8-10 dried red Serrano chilies, reconstituted in hot water (Substitute: 2-3 tbsp or to taste, chili paste)

[**to be ground or blended]

Any large fish head can be used – Grouper (Garoupa), Red Snapper, Salmon, Cod, Tuna, Mackerel, Striped Sea Bass.

To Prepare :

* Rub salt all over fish head, leave on for 15 mins, then rinse salt off
* If using dried red chilies, first remove stems, most seeds and reconstitute in hot water, drain well
* Using a mortar & pestle or blender grind the softened dried chilies chilies (or chili paste), coriander and cumin seeds
* In a small bowl, combine fish curry powder and chili powder, add a few tbsp of water and mix into a thick paste
* Heat ghee or vegetable oil in a hot wok or pot, add fenugreek, garlic and curry leaves stir-fry for about 1 min
* Add curry paste and chili paste, reduce heat to low, stir-fry until quite toasted and oil starts to ooze from paste – do not burn!
* Using your fingers, mix tamarind paste around in 4 cups of water, strain, discard seeds and fibers
* Add tamarind water, bring to a boil
* Add coconut milk, fresh tomatoes, brinjals or okra, fresh red or green chili peppers (optional), sugar and season with salt and pepper, stir well
* When it comes to a slow boil, add fish head, cover and simmer gently
* When fish head is just cooked, remove promptly from heat, let stand for 15 mins (for flavors to meld)
* Serve with bread or steamed rice

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