Tamarind Fish Curry
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Nigel Slater
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Simple, satisfying, almost effortless cooking is all very well. But sometimes I want to grind spices and toast them, make stock, make a bit of a mess, use every pan and bowl in the kitchen. Tonight, I make my friend Jeremy Pang’s curry again, it’s not complicated, but it is more involved than most of my daily cooking. I end the day with a warmingly spicy curry, earthy with cumin and curry powder, refreshing with the sourness of tamarind. A recipe to play with, to tweak, twist and tinker till the recipe is to my taste. I follow the recipe, but it is about more than that, it’s about cooking or the thrill and joy of it all, about having a good time in the kitchen. I can ask for no more.
  • onion 1
  • garlic 4 cloves
  • lime leaves 3
  • curry leaves 5
  • bird’s eye chillies 3
  • cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  • chilli powder 2 tsp
  • curry powder 3 tbsp
  • tomatoes 4, medium sized
  • white fish fillets 4
  • vegetable oil 2 tbsp
  • butter 50g
  • coriander a handful
  • rice to serve
  • For the tamarind stock
  • fish stock 750ml
  • tamarind paste 1 tsp or to taste
  • sugar 1 tsp
  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Crush lime leaves, curry leaves, chillies, cumin and coriander seeds in a food processor, then add the chilli and curry powder and 3 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Cut the fish into large pieces.
  2. Mix all the tamarind stock ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat half the vegetable oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and brown very lightly, then stir in the spice paste and continue cooking for a minute or two till fragrant. Add the tomatoes and the stock, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes with the occasional stir until soupy. Check the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and tamarind paste as necessary.
  4. Put the remaining oil in a frying pan, melt the reserved butter with it, then add the pieces of fish. Let them colour and lightly crisp, then add them to the curry, scatter over the coriander and ladle into bowls.


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