Assam Fish CurryFoodista
1 kilogram fish steaks (white, /fillets, I used kingklip in South Africa, and used snapper in Singapore)
1 red capsicum (large)
3 tablespoons red curry paste (a good)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 lemon grass (long stalks)
10 lime leaves (dried or fresh are fine)
10 pieces curry leaves
3 tablespoons shaoxing (Huatiao wine)
400 milliliters coconut cream (thick)
cilantro leaves (to garnish)
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1I like to cut away the belly because it’s alot thinner in thickness. Cut the steak portion into large chunks. They will shrink when cooked, so don’t cut too small a piece.
2I don’t waste the belly parts. I like to roll them up. And then tie the roll of belly fish meat with a single strand of chive, so that it will look as chunky as the rest of the fish meat.
3Set aside the prepared fish.
4Prepare the red capsicum. Slice off one end.
5And then slice off the other end. This will give you a tube. Slide a knife around the inside walls of the red capsicum. Remove the inner seeds and membrane. Slice the hollow tube of red capsicum into half and then slice into thin strips.
6Grate or mince some peeled ginger to get approximately 1 tablespoon of ginger.
7Prepare a handful of spices/herbs – 2 stalks of lemon grass, 10 lime leaves and a handful of curry leaves.
8Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a pan.
9When the oil is hot, add 3 tablespoons of red curry paste of your choice.
10I always use the A1 brand from Singapore. Find a good curry paste that works for you where you are, and then stock your larder with it!
11Stir fry the paste in the hot pan for a minute.
12Add the ginger. Add the garlic. Stir fry well to combine.
13Add the lemon grass, lime leaves and curry leaves. Stir well to combine.
14Add 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste. Stir well to combine and dissolve the tamarind.
15When the curry paste is nice and fragrant, about 1 to 2 mins later, add 3 tablespoons of Shaoxing Huatiao wine.
16Add 400ml of coconut cream. Every brand of coconut cream is different. Some are thicker than others. But don’t add water at this point. And don’t use coconut milk instead of cream or light coconut milk. It’s not the same.
17Add 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir well to combine and leave to simmer on a low heat. The sauce will get very thick. Don’t add water here because when the fish is placed in to cook, it will introduce alot of moisture to the sauce.
18When the sauce has been simmering gently for 2 to 3 mins, taste the sauce. Adjust the taste here because every brand of oyster sauce/tamarind/wine is different and the sauce needs to be fine tuned accordingly. If it’s too sour, add a little more sugar. If it tastes flat, add a little wine and oyster sauce. Stir well to combine.
19When the sauce is ready, gently add the fish into the pan. Keep the stove at medium heat and let the fish cook slowly in the sauce. Try not to handle the fish too much in the sauce as it will cause the fish to flake or break up.
20As the fish cooks, it will release moisture into the sauce and thin it out. Gently cover the fish with the sauce. Cover the pan and let it simmer till the fish is cooked through. It usually takes about 5 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
21When the fish is cooked, add the red capsicum strips and gently stir through till they are warmed through but not cooked till soft. If the sauce is too thick at this point, add a couple of tablespoons of water and stir well to combine.
22Dish out the fish curry gently because the fish may flake or break up. Garnish with coriander leaves.