Succulent fish fillets slow cooked in a herbaceous coconut sauce.
Here a simple but tasty fish curry with a difference, now you guys know I like to be adventurous with my food. Exploring different herbs and spices has my name written all over it. When I’m not making recipes on my website I’m usually in the kitchen experimenting with different spice blends. You know now that I think about it there is an element of truth to some of the stereotypes about foodies, quite similar to when people stereotype the geeks and nerds well us foodies are stereotypical in nature too.
By stereotypical I mean by eat, sleep and think about food 24/7 not because we are greedy but because it’s our job/hobby and we are always thinking of ways to adapt or simply create a certain dish. It does take over our lives and we love to talk about all things food, watch the food channel and own tons of cookbooks. So now you guys know just how sad us foodies truly are, but we love it this way!
Anyway now onto the recipe, this stewed fish is my own creation with a balance of Indian and Caribbean flavours. In the Caribbean we are very fond of grilling, steaming and/or frying fish namely whole fish with the bones still in tact and eating our way around it. You will notice that I used fish fillet as opposed to using a whole fish or fish pieces with the bones, that is different from the norm.
If you want you can used fish pieces like cuts of snapper instead, it would still work and not compromise the flavour, it’s merely a preference – boneless or bony fish that’s all.
Now you will find the taste of this curry is very, very pungent, it’s has a plethora of warming notes – ginger, mustard seed and cinnamon are the stars of the show. The aforementioned really compliment the coconut milk, providing a depth of warmth. The Caribbean influence comes namely from the use of thyme, coconut, scotch bonnet, scallion and callaloo (familiar to spinach).
There are a few ingredients that may be problematic to obtain. If you cannot locate any scotch bonnet a fresh chilli or harbanero pepper is just fine. How much pepper you use it accordingly to your tolerance for heat. Please remember the fiery taste comes from the membrane, if you want the flavour from the chilli only, simply discard the membrane or use the membrane partially for minimum heat.
- 4 firm hake fillets (4lb)
- 5 cups of full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup of mixed bell peppers (sliced)
- a bunch of callaloo (1/2-1 pound)
- 1 cup of mixed bell peppers
- 1 tbsp of tapioca starch (any clean starch will do)
- 20 fresh curry leaves
- 1 medium onion and 2 scallion sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ scotch bonnet, finely sliced (use chill, harbanero instead)
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds, ground
- 5 sprigs of thyme, stem removed
- 2 tsp coriander (fresh or dried)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- himalayan pink salt to taste
- coconut oil
- Heat a generous amount of coconut oil in a large, heavy duty pan over a high heat.
- Proceed to add the curry leaves along with the onions, garlic, scotch bonnet and ginger.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for 7 minutes, until the onions are soft, translucent and darkened.
- Sprinkle the remaining spices into the pan, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Mix the tapioca with the coconut milk until it has completely dissolved.
- Pour the coconut milk into the onion/spice mixture and bring to a rolling boil.
- Finally add the fish so a ¾ of the meat is submerged in coconut milk, then reduce the heat to low and taste for salt accordingly.
- Cover the pan with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes checking the pan periodically for adequate liquid levels. The coconut sauce will have thicken gradually over time.
- Finally add the callaloo and mixed bell peppers 5 minutes before the stew is done so they don't absorb too much of the liquid.
- Serve accordingly