I love to potter around the kitchen. And I love cooking things from scratch. Unfortunately, I don't always have the luxury of spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and more often than not, I have quite a few dishes to cook for a single meal. When this happens, I, like many home cooks, cheat.
Because my Dad is a picky eater, I tend to cook a lot of fish dishes for him. I had a fish head that had been chopped to smaller pieces in the freezer. I made fish head soup with half the head and had the other half left.
Hence, the decision to make a curry with the fish head.
This is a quick and easy curry because I used a store-bought curry paste instead of pounding my own paste.
In a wok, with a little oil, I pan fried the brinjal (eggplant) until they are slightly brown. The brinjal was then set aside. I repeated the same with the orka (lady's fingers).
While that happened, I sliced a couple of small red onions, one stalk of lemon grass and removed the leaves of a few sprigs of curry leaves.
Into the same skillet, I added a little oil and sauteed the onions until they became soft. I detest the taste of raw onions, so if you are like me, then make sure you cook the onions well at this stage to avoid the taste of raw onions in your curry later.
I added the lemon grass and curry leaves.
Then the curry powder and paste. I gave everything a good stir to combine.
And finally, I added coconut milk, water from soaking the assam (tamarind) and water.
When the curry had come to a boil, I added the fish and the brinjal and orka.
I simmered the fish and vegetables on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish was cooked through and the vegetables had softened. I added some fish sauce, and garnished the curry with coriander to serve.
I simply love fish curries. Apart from being so fragrant, the slightly sour taste of assam is just so good with the fish!
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Quick and Easy Assam Fish Head Curry (Serves 2)
1/2 fish head, chopped into smaller pieces
1 medium brinjal, cut into pieces
3 okra, cut into pieces
1 small red onion, sliced
2 stalks lemon grass, white part only, sliced
4 sprigs curry leaves
1 tablespoon fish curry powder
1 packet (about 200-250g) fish curry paste
1 tablespoon assam (tamarind) soaked in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon fish sauce, or to taste
1. Saute brinjal in a little oil in a hot skillet until slightly brown. Remove and set aside. Repeat with okra.
2. Add a little oil to skillet. Saute onions until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add lemon grass and curry leaves. Stir to mix.
3. Add curry powder and paste. Stir until mixed.
4. Add coconut milk. Once combined, add water and liquid from soaked assam. Bring to a boil.
5. Add fish, brinjal and okra. Lower heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until fish is cooked through and vegetables have softened. Add fish sauce.
6. Garnish with coriander and serve, hot, with rice.