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Best & Fresh Fish Curry

A community recipe by

Not tested or verified by Nigella.com

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Introduction

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.

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.

Ingredients

Serves: 4

Metric Cups
  • 1 kilogram white fish (fresh, cubed)
  • 5⅛ centimetres fresh root ginger (minced)
  • 3 cloves red garlic (crushed)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 12 saffron strands
  • 2 large green chilli (slit once up the middle)
  • 600 grams vine tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 sea salt
  • 1 freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or sunflower oil)
  • 125 millilitres fresh coriander (chopped roughly for garnish)
  • 2⅕ pounds white fish (fresh, cubed)
  • 2 inches fresh gingerroot (minced)
  • 3 cloves red garlic (crushed)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 12 saffron strands
  • 2 large green chile (slit once up the middle)
  • 21⅙ ounces vine tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 sea salt
  • 1 freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or sunflower oil)
  • 4 fluid ounce cilantro (chopped roughly for garnish)

Method

Best & Fresh Fish Curry is a community recipe submitted by Titchy and has not been tested by Nigella.com so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe.

  • Prepare all ingredients as specified.
  • Heat wok/large skillet/large heavy based frying pan till red hot, then add the oil to the hot pan and turn the heat to medium before adding the ginger, garlic and onion and sauteing them well, that is to say, till the oil appears to come back from the mix.
  • It's important to advise here that the purpose of this action is to flavour and cook the oil, rather than the focus being the softening of the root vegetables, though this needs to happen and will anyway.
  • Once you can see the oil come back and it will, add the tomatoes, chilli and saffron, combine and season well.
  • Turning the heat to low (as Nigella often recommends, you could use a heat diffuser hear) and clamp on the lid letting it bubble away for 20 minutes, checking during this time to see if the mix is getting too dry, you can add a little water if this is so.
  • After 20 minutes taste for seasoning and turn off the heat. Add the cubed fish to this fire-hot sauce, making sure all the fish is as submerged as it can be, clamp on the lid again and leave the fish to cook through in the heat of the pan for about 5 - 7 minutes (depending on how thick the cubes of fish are (I generally cut them 4cmx4cmx2cm thick).
  • Once this time has passed check fish is cooked through by breaking a large piece cleanly in two and decant to a warmed dish garnishing generously with chopped coriander.
  • Serve with plain white rice and a simple kachumber made by combining diced tomatoes, onion, coriander, chilli, lemon juice & sea salt (this will echo the flavour in the curry), or go the other way with a simple raita made by sprucing good Greek natural yoghurt with grated cucumber, freshly ground cumin, sea salt & ground pepper (this will compliment the curry with contrast).
  • Prepare all ingredients as specified.
  • Heat wok/large skillet/large heavy based frying pan till red hot, then add the oil to the hot pan and turn the heat to medium before adding the ginger, garlic and onion and sauteing them well, that is to say, till the oil appears to come back from the mix.
  • It's important to advise here that the purpose of this action is to flavour and cook the oil, rather than the focus being the softening of the root vegetables, though this needs to happen and will anyway.
  • Once you can see the oil come back and it will, add the tomatoes, chilli and saffron, combine and season well.
  • Turning the heat to low (as Nigella often recommends, you could use a heat diffuser hear) and clamp on the lid letting it bubble away for 20 minutes, checking during this time to see if the mix is getting too dry, you can add a little water if this is so.
  • After 20 minutes taste for seasoning and turn off the heat. Add the cubed fish to this fire-hot sauce, making sure all the fish is as submerged as it can be, clamp on the lid again and leave the fish to cook through in the heat of the pan for about 5 - 7 minutes (depending on how thick the cubes of fish are (I generally cut them 4cmx4cmx2cm thick).
  • Once this time has passed check fish is cooked through by breaking a large piece cleanly in two and decant to a warmed dish garnishing generously with chopped coriander.
  • Serve with plain white rice and a simple kachumber made by combining diced tomatoes, onion, coriander, chilli, lemon juice & sea salt (this will echo the flavour in the curry), or go the other way with a simple raita made by sprucing good Greek natural yoghurt with grated cucumber, freshly ground cumin, sea salt & ground pepper (this will compliment the curry with contrast).
  • Tell us what you think