Fish, my mum always said, made Bengalis the cleverest people on earth. When school exams started , she cooked fish every day. Cod liver oil was a must too and once she actually massaged my head with this stinky stuff, trying out a theory that it would sink in through the scalp and skull go ‘straight to the brain, direct, no turning corners’. She was a quack. And I was her only regular client, plus a few mates who had never learnt to read or write. Anyway, this was one of the ways she cooked fish, in a thick sauce, eaten with bread or rice or just a spoon. I add prawns, she never did. Too expensive. She pounded the spices by hand. I use a food processor.
Seafood and Fish Curry
3 lbs of chunky fish- I mix salmon, tilapia and hake, filleted and skinned, plus a few raw prawns.
½ bunch of fresh coriander leaves
3 hot green or red chillies
2 tbsp oil
1and a ½ tins chopped tomatoes
2 tins good coconut milk I use the powdered sort which you dissolve in warm water
3 tsps dried coriander and cumin powder
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsps desiccated coconut
Salt to taste
Toast the desiccated coconut in a dry frying pan over low heat, keeping an eye on it. When it starts to change to light brown, it is done.
Put this toasted coconut, coriander, chillies, all the spices, ginger, garlic and one chopped onion in the food processor. Add half a cup of water and pulp.
Chop the other onion and fry in the oil in a largeish pan until teh onions start to brown a little.
Add the pulped, spicy mix and cook for five minutes. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes and cook for another ten minutes over low heat.
Cut the fish into large pieces and carefully place in the bubbling sauce with the lime juice. Poach for five minutes. Add prawns if using and cook for another five minutes. Turn off, cover and serve after five more minutes.