It was my brother's birthday last week. Despite the fact that he lives on the other side of the world it still seemed like as good a reason as any to have a party tea. I had ripped out Atul Kochhar's recipes from last month's Observer Food Magazine as we are both fans of Indian food. And so is my brother, fortunately, as this is a party in his honour if not his presence. This collection sounded, unsurprisingly, very good.
When I looked more closely at the list of ingredients for the fish curry I noticed the fat used for cooking was coconut oil. When I was a possibly foolish teenager many moons ago in Australia I would spend my summers slathering coconut oil all over myself in pursuit of the perfect tan. The joy of getting older is finding there is more pleasure in a perfect curry.
MEEN MOLEE Coconut fish curry
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
4 small fillets of sea bass or sea bream (about 150g each)
30ml coconut oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
6 whole green chillies, slit lengthways
3 garlic cloves, sliced into fine strips
30 curry leaves
400ml coconut milk
small bunch of coriander, chopped
Mix 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric, and gently rub into the fish fillets. Heat the coconut oil in a wide pan, then sauté the onion, chillies and garlic. Add 20 of the curry leaves and keep cooking until the onion is translucent. Add the rest of the turmeric and salt, pour in the coconut milk, heat through, then add the fish fillets and simmer very gently. Fry the rest of the curry leaves in a separate pan. When the fish is cooked, serve garnished with the fried curry leaves and chopped coriander.
We ate it with spiced spinach and some basmati rice and it was utterly fabulous.
Bon appetit and bonne anniversaire to my brother!