Fragrant Ceylonese Fish Curry
From Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman, Terrific Pacific Cookbook
- 4 firm white fish steaks, such as snapper or halibut, about
6 oz. each, 3/4-inch thick
- 1.5 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp. ginger, chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass, discard bottom, tough outer leaves, chopped
- 2 med. tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small fresh hot chile, green or red, seeded, chopped
- 2.5 tbs. peanut oil
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1.5 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 c. coconut milk
- 1 c. fish stock
- 1 tbs. lemon juice
- Rub fish with mixture of turmeric and salt. Let stand for 10
- Combine onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, tomato, and chile in
a food processor and process to a paste, adding a little oil if
- In a skillet large enough to hold fish in one layer, heat 2 tbs.
oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook for about 1
minute per side. Remove fish and drain on paper towels.
- Add remaining oil to the skillet and heat over medium-low heat
for 1 minute. Add coriander, cumin, and curry powder and stir
for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add onion paste and cook, stirring,
until it no longer tastes raw, about 7 minutes. Stir in coconut
milk and stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until mixture
thickens a little, about 7 minutes. Add lemon juice.
- Add the fish and gently stir so it is submerged in the
liquid. Cover and simmer over low heat until fish is cooked
through and flakes when tested with a fork, about 6 minutes.
Do not overcook. Transfer fish to a serving dish, and spoon
sauce over it.
- I used red snapper fillets.
- My lemongrass was a bit old and stringy, and the food processor
didn't do a good job of chopping it. It would have been better
to hand chop it very fine. (I wonder whether a better food
processor would work better.)
- I cooked this a couple of hours ahead of time, then let it sit
in pan to absorb flavors, then slowly re-warmed it. I didn't
initially undercook the fish to pre-compensate for rewarming,
but the damage was minimal.
Keywords: Sri Lanka, Fish.