One of the key experiences travellers look forward to in a new destination is food, even the picky eaters who never leave their own spices and crackers out of their luggage, venture to try at least one dish which will remind them of the city or town visited.
In light of creating memories, this week our dish is Cape Malay Fish Curry which we will be trying our hands to re-create in its distinct South Africa flavour. Given that anything seafood fits right in on the beachside, then Hermanus will be one of the ideal places to enjoy the beauty of the sea, smell the ocean breeze and eat a well made Cape Malay Fish Curry.
If you are not a fan of fish or seafood, you can substitute with chicken or beef.
So if you like to try new things like I do, whip up your cooking tools and let’s get to work!
Cooking Time: 60 Minutes
Ingredients: 600 grock ling, hake or other firm white fish fillets, skin removed
Salt, to season, plus 1 tsp, approximately, extra
Pepper, to season
60 ml(¼ cup) cooking oil
Pinch of fennel seeds
Pinch of cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 red birdseye chilli, halved lengthways
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp hot masala, or to taste
1 tsp medium masala
3 tomatoes, peeled, grated
1 tsp tamarind pulp, mixed with 60 ml (¼ cup) boiling water and strained
1 tbsp raw sugar, or to taste
10 fresh curry leaves, bruised
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
Yellow rice, to serve
Cooking Method: Season the fish with salt and pepper and cut into large bite-size pieces.
Heat the oil in a wok or wide saucepan over high heat. Add the fennel and cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining spices and 2–3 tbsp water to prevent spices from burning and sticking to pan. Cook for 1–2 minutes.
Add the tomato and tamarind water, reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the sugar and extra salt, adjusting each to ensure a balance of sweet and sour. Stir in the curry leaves and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Place the fish in the wok and gently spoon over the sauce to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes, or until fish is just cooked through. Just before serving, top with chopped coriander and serve on a bed of yellow rice.
- The tomato mixture must have the correct taste and consistency before adding the fish.
- If you like a thick gravy, boil and mash a small potato before adding the fish. Add more salt if necessary.
- Don’t be tempted to add more water as the fish has its own moisture.
- It’s important not to stir the curry or the fish will break up.
- If the sauce is too watery, remove the lid and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens slightly.
Recipe by: Hazel Mcbride