Asian curries are known the world over to be hot, spicy and very flavorful. The truth is that Asian curries are very different depending on where they originate. People in the West have experienced curries mostly from the Northern Sub-Continent. People in Northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are not known for their seafood based curries but more for their Chicken, Mutton and Beef based concoctions. As you head South and East, especially towards the coast, you will find Seafood being used as the primary protein source. Also, the character of the curries themselves, are very different. The spices, for the most part, are similar to other Sub-Continental curries but you may find some interesting differences in the base of the recipe. One such difference is the use of Coconut and in some cases even Tamarind. These courses will come out to be very creamy and subtle. They will also be healthier than those that use Mutton or Beef as the primary protein.
The type of Seafood that is used depends on the place that the recipe originates. Along the Indian and South East Asian coast, Sea fish, Shrimps, Prawns, Lobsters or Shellfish are traditionally used to prepare the curries. In the Eastern part of India, River fish is preferred. The flavors of the fish itself depend on a large part on whether they are sea or river fish. River fish is more flavorful in general but also bonier and smellier. Sea fish is more robust and meaty. In this particular recipe, you can replace the fish with Prawns, Crabs, Lobster or even Shellfish.
One other thing to remember is that Northern Sub-Continental curries are traditionally eat with bread but Southern curries such as this one, which involve Seafood are always eaten with Rice. These just do not go well with bread and rice is highly recommended. That said, the rice itself does not need to be fancy. In fact, plain boiled rice is preferable to seasoned or flavored rice that may overpower the curry itself
- 1 Fish (whole or filleted), sliced
- 1/2 Fresh Coconut (scraped) or 1/2 can of Coconut Milk
- 1 medium sized Onion, finely chopped
- 1-inch piece of Ginger
- 4 cloves of Garlic
- 2-4 Whole Red Chillies (adjust according to taste)
- 1 green chili
- 4-6 Kaffir lime leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Red Chili powder
- Salt (to taste)
- Clean and slice the fish. Rub a mix of salt, turmeric and red chili powder on the fish, and set aside.
- Use a grinder to make a smooth paste of the ginger, garlic, whole red chillies, green chili, peppercorns, coriander and cumin.
- Heat some oil in a pan. Cook the onion and saute until translucent. Add the kaffir lime leaves and saute for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Next, add the spice paste prepared above and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the fresh coconut and water OR coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- Now, add the sliced fish and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
- Serve over steamed rice. Voila! Dinner is ready.