Saturday, 30 June 2007

Fish Head Curry

Fish head curry is a spicy curried dish made using a fish's head. Mixing the spices of a typical South Indian fish curry with the fish head, a delicacy amongst the Chinese.

Fish head curry is served in both Indian and Chinese restaurants, often brought still bubbling away in a the large clay pot. In Indian restaurants, fresh banana leaves are laid before the diners and steaming rice is scooped onto them. The curry is then poured over the fragrant rice. Usually, the diners are also given crackers or papadam to complement their main course. Typically, other side dishes are also ordered. The first part of the fish head that is consumed is the flesh around the cheeks. Everything else fleshy is then removed, exposing the skull. The final and best part of this gastronomic ritual is the scooping of the eyes.


· 1 fish head, halved (approx 1kg)
· 5-6 tbsp oil

Spices (A), ground and combined:

· 1 tbsp ground cumin
· 2 1/2 tbsp chilli paste
· 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
· 3 tbsp ground coriander
· 4 candlenuts

· ½ can coconut milk

· 1/2 tsp cumin
· 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
· 1 tsp fenugreek
· 4-5cm piece ginger, thinly sliced
· 8-9 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
· 1 onion, thinly sliced
· 10 shallots, thinly sliced
· 1 stalk curry leaves

(D), mixed and strained:
· 150g tamarind
· 1.5 litres water

· 300g ladies fingers
· 3 tomatoes, quartered

· 2 tsp salt
· 1 tsp sugar


Heat oil in a pot, fry ingredients (c) until aromatic.Combine ingredients (a) and two to three tabelspoons thin coconut milk into a paste. Add the paste and continue to saute till oil rises to the top.Stir in tamarind juice and remaining thin coconut milk. Bring to a simmering boil.Add fish head and ladies fingers and bring to a boil until fish and vegetables are cooked. Add seasoning, then dish out and serve immediately.

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