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What To Cook: Keralan Coconut Fish Curry


By Meg Walker
12th Feb 2018
What To Cook: Keralan Coconut Fish Curry

It was a pretty exciting moment in my life when I realised there was such a thing as Jewish curry. This recipe is adapted from one in an amazing book called Spice & Kosher: Exotic Cuisine of the Cochin Jews by Dr Essie Sassoon, Bala Menon and Kenny Salem, which shares the recipes of the huge Jewish community that used to live in Kerala, India. This dish, made with coconut cream and cardamom, is really fragrant, light and beautiful.

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 large onion, roughly chopped
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small green chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
350ml coconut cream
3 tbsp coconut or sunflower oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
seeds from 6 cardamom pods, crushed
4 shallots, thinly sliced
300ml fish or vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
1kg skinless, firm, white fish fillets, such as tilapia, halibut, cod loin, haddock loin, cut into large chunks
a large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
4-5 curry leaves
grated zest of 1 lime
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lime wedges, to serve

Method
First, use a food processor to blend the onion, ginger, chilli, garlic and ground spices with half the coconut cream. Heat the oil in a high-sided frying pan and add the mustard seeds. Cook over a medium heat until they start to pop, then add the cardamom seeds and shallots.

When the shallots are golden brown, after about 5 minutes, add the spiced coconut cream to the pan. Cook for a minute or so, until the aromas start to be released, then add the stock.

Cook for 10 minutes, then add the remaining coconut cream, the fish chunks and three-quarters of the coriander, along with the curry leaves and lime zest. Reduce the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with the remaining coriander leaves and wedges of lime to squeeze over.

Serve with steamed rice.

Extracted from Cherish by Anne Shooter (Headline Home, approx €32). Photograph by Emma Lee.