Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fish curry from Two Asian Kitchens

I am not a huge Masterchef fan - in fact, I missed most of the first series. One reason for this is that I initially couldn't stand watching the judges taste the contestants' dishes - watching other people eating is not a hobby of mine.  However, Masterchef has grown on me, and I now watch it whenever I can, but don't beat myself up if I miss it.

Adam Liaw, last year's winner, was a former Disney lawyer in Japan who gave it all up to appear on Masterchef.  His first cookbook, Two Asian Kitchens, has just been released.  The "two kitchens" of the title are the old and the new - the traditional and the modern.  

There are some really interesting dishes in Adam's book, but unfortunately, when I went to tag them, I tagged most of the book - a complete waste of time.  At least it shows me that I am happy with this purchase.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I adore a good curry.  Accordingly, it seemed fitting that my first dish from Two Asian Kitchens was a curry - namely, Aunty Chin's fish head curry.  Adam gave you the option of using 600g of white fish instead of a fish head, and I gladly accepted this substitution.  I wouldn't know the first thing about eating a fish head, and it doesn't appeal to me; however, the curry itself did.

One thing to note about this curry is that it has a fair amount of heat - it is not scaldingly hot, but it definitely raises the temperature a notch or two, as it contains 1 teaspoon of chilli powder and 5 birds eye chillis.  It also contains okra, a type of bean that I had never heard of before.  It was luck rather than good management  that I found okra in an Asian supermarket.  Adam used whole okra beans, but as they seemed kind of big, I sliced the okra beans into pieces.  I also left out the curry leaves, as I couldn't find any.  Don't fret though - this dish contains a make-your-own curry powder, so it is still definitely a curry.  I also substituted the coconut cream for coconut flavoured evaporated milk, to make the curry a little more calorie-friendly.  There was also some pfafffing with tamarind liquid - I just used the tamarind pulp.

I enjoyed the mix of hot and sweet and acidic flavours in this curry - it was a perfect balance.  However, as I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to heat, I would tone down the chillies next time.  I served my curry with boiled rice and bok choy. 

To make this curry (with my modifications), you will need:

 Curry powder

5 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all the spices together in a bowl and set aside.

600g white fish fillets
3 tablespoons tamarind pulp
3 brown onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5 red birds eye chillis, sliced lengthways and seeds removed
2 tbp oil
1 tbp grated ginger
1 handful curry leaves (I left these out)
250g okra, stalks trimmed (and in my case, sliced)
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed
2 tomatoes, cored and quartered
270ml coconut cream (or coconut flavoured evaporated milk)
3 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Rub the fish with 1 tbp fish curry powder.  

Blitz the onion, garlic and chillis in a food processor to create a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in  a large wok until smoking, and cook the fish on both sides until lightly browned.  Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.

Add the ginger to the wok and toss in the oil.  Add the curry powder and curry leaves to the wok and toss for a few seconds until fragrant.  (Be careful and do this in a well ventilated kitchen - I almost choked on the "fragrancy" of the mix!)  Add the chilli paste and fry until the oil separates from the paste.  

Add the okra to the wok and fry for 2 minutes until softened, then add the tomatoes and pineapple and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the coconut cream/evaporated milk, tamarind, fish sauce, salt and sugar and bring to the boil.  Return the fish to the wok and bring the mixture to the boil.  Immediately turn off the heat, and cover the wok.  Leave the wok covered for 20 minutes until the fish is cooked through.  Stir through the lemon juice before serving.


Anonymous said...

This dish looks delicious! Very reminiscent of my mother's cooking.

Christina Kim said...

Looks like a good complement to a lovely meal:) I love fish this curry spicy???

Cakelaw said...

Hi Christy, it is only mildly spicy, but definitely medium hot.

Johanna GGG said...

I enjoyed the first two series but have only watched a little this year - too preoccupied - and each series has grown on me gradually so maybe it will again - will look out for the book

natalia said...

ciao ! What a dish ! I'd love to make it too !

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I had a quick flick through the book the other day and it looks really interesting! :D

Finla said...

I used to watch BBC masterchef but now a days i never seems to get time to watch them.
Love the fish curry.

Ivy said...

I tried to watch the Greek Masterchef but it didn't attract me at all. I've never made a fish curry before but it sounds interesting having an influence of Indian and Chinese cuisine.

Anonymous said...

This sounds great. I've only had chicken and vegetarian curries, so I should try fish too.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I love curry! I don't think I have ever had it with fish though...sounds delish!

Jack said...

kitchens solihull

I tried to watch the Ancient Masterchef but it didn't appeal to me at all. I've never made a fish curry before but it appears to be exciting having an effect of Native indian and China delicacies.