This simple formula for fish is surrounded (for me) by a most intriguing tale from my family's legacy. Born in the jungles between Burma & India as my grandparents (my father in his mother's womb days from birth) ran from the Japanese in their invasion of Burma during the 2nd world war. So the story goes the jungle was literally being cut before them by the military, so they could run through it, with explosions sometimes at their heels, toward solace in India. They would pit-stop at shelters along the way as they came, anticipating they had enough time between themselves & the enemy. It was at one of these pit-stops, where they would sponge bath, change into clean clothes and eat a simple meal of rice & ngapi (smelly fish condiment), that my grandmother derived this dish. She yearned to feel some trace of regality (she came from wealth) and normality (the rich according to her ate fish often) amidst the surrounding chaos. So she assumed it a good omen that a soldier had caught and brought fresh fish to the camp that day and the landowner of the shelter was (in Nana's words) "rich and knowledgeable enough to keep real Saffron threads in his kitchen", in fact his bounty was further fruitful with fresh ginger, garlic, onion, tomatoes and coriander. That day was a godsend, for she was heavily pregnant, under constant duress in grueling circumstances, having been separated from her siblings, managing the physical demands of the escape, in addition with her one and a half year old son. The military informed the group they were far enough from the enemy to take four hours rest following the meal. Her desires were fulfilled in every way she needed that day, and thank goodness for that, had they not, I fear my father may have been born to a worse fate. I cook this recipe as authentically as my Nana has told it to me and have passed it on to some who feared the methodology did not contain enough elements of flavor, so they added things like curry powder (whatever that is) or garam masala (too strong a spice blend to be used on delicate fresh fish). After discussing their rule-breaking actions further, I have found many were not privy to Saffron's intensely sharp yet comfortingly round full flavor, Saffron allows the fish to flavor sufficiently without impairing the fish's taste of the sea, and any other spice or flavoring (in this dish) will kill this most important palate element of seafood. All have since re-visited according to my instruction and never wavered since from pure delight, so I urge you with diligence in the same fashion.
Recipe posted by Titchy