Oct 29, 2014

Kari Kepala Ikan (Fish Head Curry)

I am going to share with you this simple curry recipe.... Some handy tips before you start cooking this. 

1. Ask your fishmonger to scale your fish head properly. Trust me, it's not pleasant having fish scales in the curry while you're eating. 
2. Don't overcook the okra. 10-15 minutes is fine. 
3. Don't let the coconut boil in the curry for too long, otherwise it will start to split. 
4. Don't overcook the fish either. 
5. And finally, the fish cheek is the best part.


Ingredients
1 meaty fish head, such as red snapper or grouper, about 1 kg in weight 
salt, for cleaning fish head
200g okra/ladies fingers, cut into half if they are slightly big, otherwise keep whole
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp onion paste
2 tbsp tamarind puree or paste
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek/halba seeds
2-3 sprigs curry leaves (shredded/sliced)
1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 slices dried asam gelugur/sour fruit , optional
1 tbsp sugar, or more to taste
Salt to taste


For the curry paste (mix with some water for a thick paste)
1 tbsp plain chili powder
1 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp fennel powder

Method

Prepare the fish head. Wash thoroughly with running water to rid of any blood. Place the head in a large bowl and rub salt all over the head. Fill with enough water to cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well to remove the salt. Set aside.

Rub fish with turmeric powder and keep aside.

Heat olive oil and saute ginger, garlic and onion paste. Splatter in mustard and fenugreek seeds and fry for 30 seconds before adding the curry leaves. Fry for another 30 seconds. Add the spice paste and gently fry over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until fragrant and thickened and the paste develop a richer and darker colour.  

Add the tamarind puree, followed by water, coconut milk and the assam gelugur/sour fruit slices. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Add the okras/ladies fingers and aubergines. Increase the heat to medium and gently bring to the boil, Carefully lower the fish head into the wok or pan and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add a little more water, if necessary so that the fish head is almost submerged.

Season with salt and sugar, to taste, Serve piping hot with lots of steamed rice to soak up all those spicy gravy.

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