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There so much to say and even more to eat. Hence a blog for each was born.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Early beginnings (Fish curry recipe)

When I started cooking there was no Internet (GASP. How did we survive?). You were pretty much limited to your mom's knowledge (Pukka Indian cooking) and the only other food you ate was from very close friends and family (We weren't allowed to eat out. Yes, really). There's this superstition that if you share a recipe with someone that your dish will never be the same again (Gotta love the doom and gloom of Indian culture). So if you were given a recipe, chances are that there was an ingredient missing or that ratios were deliberately incorrect. This is where I developed my "Cook by taste method". I would taste something, try to figure out what was in it and then attempt to recreate the dish or make my own version (No, didn't have to feed the neighbour's dog with it more often than not).  

The first dish I ever cooked (from start to finish, all by myself) was fish curry (and aloo fry and rice). Up until then I was only allowed to be Sous Chef to Mom's Chef De Cuisine. I was eight years old and just about reached the counter comfortably (thanks to my hobbit genes, yes hairy feet included) to prepare what was to become one of my personal favourite dishes. 

(No, it didn't look like this at 8. I'm no Flynn McGarry http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/magazine/the-chef-at-15.html?_r=0)

(Scrabble letters and heart bamboo board from @MrPriceHome)

Fish Curry (serves 4 - 5)


1 x tablespoon (approx. 15g) butter 
3 x tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil (or any other frying oil)
1 x medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 x stick of cinnamon
1 x teaspoon black mustard seeds

(bamboo board from @MrPriceHome)
1 x tablespoon fresh tamarind softened in 3/4 cup bowling water and then strained
1 x medium ripe tomato, grated
1 x clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped (approximately 10 mls in volume)
1/4 x teaspoon turmeric powder
2 x teaspoon chili powder
1 x teaspoon coriander powder
1 1/2 x teaspoon cumin powder
1 x fresh chili (mild - remove top from chili, medium - slit chili lengthwise and remove seeds, hot - chop chili)
1 x tablespoon tomato sauce (optional)
2 x tablespoons hot water 

1 x fresh hake, cleaned, sliced and descaled

(fresh fish from @CheckersSA and bamboo board from @MrPriceHome)


1. Melt butter in olive oil on medium heat (do not let butter burn)

2. Add onion, mustard seeds and cinnamon to the pot

3. Saute on medium heat until onions are browned

4. Add tomato, tamarind mixture, garlic, fresh chili, tomato sauce and dry spices to the onions. 

5. Reduce on medium to high heat

(This can be used for any seafood curry)

6. Arrange fish in curry and add 30 mls hot water (omit the water for a thicker curry)

7.  Simmer on a low heat for approximately 10 minutes (do not stir or disturb the fish) and remove from heat immediately after cooking time.

Tip: Dish fish out with a flat slotted spoon if you feel that you've overcooked your fish and then use a serving spoon for the curry.

(Scrabble letters and heart bamboo board from @MrPriceHome)

Eat before it swims away!

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