Smoked Salmon Fish Curry
CONTINUING OUR SINGAPOREAN AND MALAYSIAN THEME!
You are going to love today’s recipe! But, first thing’s first! I’ve got a new theme, a bit hard to miss! I’m still coming to grips with it all, so, if you spot irregularities, by all means, tell me! Perhaps I’ll stick to this one a while!
I might have mentioned that the family and I were away on an adrenaline charged week. The weather notwithstanding, we had a splendid time, even when we were splashed with mud while quadbiking! We did take along some unusual guests though. The caterpillars we were expecting in the mail for our life cycle homeschooling project took a while to arrive and as we didn’t want to miss out on any stage, decided to take them along! They are now happily hanging in their little netted pavilion as chrysalides. The kids are having a great time studying each stage but I shan’t post any pictures of them just yet – this is after all a food blog! Pretty is not quite the adjective, at this stage!
Back to the main topic, as I said this curry is something special! I came up with it some 12 years ago when I was 8 months pregnant with my eldest, Trafford. Desperate for a South Indian fish curry, I was dismayed to find that the only fresh/frozen seafood I had were prawns and smoked salmon. Now, did I say I was desperate?! Well, beggars can’t be chosers and all that, I decided I had no choice but to go ahead with what I had in hand. Another banality later (you know, necessity being the mother of invention?), a masterpiece was born, if I must say so myself – one of those times when the sum was so much greater than its parts!
Many South Indian dishes call for the use of curry leaves, likewise, here. Fresh ones are great, dried will do but if you can’t get hold of them, don’t fret, just serve the curry with fresh coriander leaves. Usually, when I have salmon, I cook it with no adornment apart from some pepper as I think it needs none. I make an exception for this dish because I think the combination of the rich flavours of the curry powder, fresh and smoked salmon is a marriage made in heaven! However, the smoked salmon aside the type of fish you use is up to you, any firm fish will do and any type of seafood works marvellously too. The recipe only calls for a small amount of smoked salmon, added right at the end, to flavour the fish curry. I quite often use smoked salmon trimmings for this, the tiny slithers are perfect for this purpose.
Many Indian recipes call for a final stage called “tarka” or tempering, which is essentially the quick frying of some spices with or without curry leaves in very hot oil and the whole mix is then added to the cooked dish. This is a natural flavour enhancer, much like the adding of garam masala. Some people are happy using just mustard seeds with curry leaves, some add dried red chillies and some use a mix of spices called Panch Phoron. This is a combination of 5 fairly common spices and is also known as Bengali Five Spice. Recipe here. I don’t bother with this final step, preferring to incorporate it into the actual cooking process by starting with it.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 fresh salmon fillets
100g smoked salmon (or more if you like smoked salmon!), cut into tiny slices
2 tbsp oil/ghee
1 tsp panch phoron
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
3″/6 cm ginger
4 tbsp fish curry powder (or any curry powder + 1 tsp fenugreek seeds/powder)
12 okra fingers
2 tbsp tamarind pulp mixed with 100ml hot water or 1 tbsp ready paste from jar
1-2 cans of 400ml coconut milk (depends on how creamy you like it)
water, as needed
salt, if needed, to taste
1. Grind the onion, garlic and ginger together and set aside.
3. Quickly add the onion mix and fry for about a minute until the aroma hits you, then add the curry powder and stir thoroughly.
4. Add the tamarind juice and bring to boil.
5. Add the coconut milk and stir thoroughly and bring to boil.
6. Add the okra and salmon fillets, again, bring to boil gently and simmer uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Remember, never cook coconut milk on a rolling boil or covered as it will curdle, even stabilized ones can be temperamental.
7. Add the smoked salmon slices, heat through and serve with plain boiled rice, chapatis, naans or my favourite with fish curry – dosas.
If not using curry leaves, sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander leaves.
PS: For those of you enjoying our current Singaporean and Malaysian theme, check out this blog by Nava Krishnan in Malaysia. Her blog’s full of lovely recipes and interesting reads!