The Weekly | June 20, 2016
Prep 15 mins
30 mins plus proof 45 mins
2 fish heads from Ikan Merah or garoupa
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsps ghee or vegetable oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 (5cm) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, sliced thinly
6 tbsps fish curry powder, mixed with 100ml water
1 tbsp tamarind pulp, soaked in 250ml hot water, strained for tamarind water
250ml coconut milk
4 tomatoes, chopped
4 okras, chopped
2 eggplants, chopped
3 large red or green chillis, seeded and chopped
5 curry leaves
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Wash fish head and pat dry. Rub salt all over and set aside for 30 mins. Rinse salt off.
2. In a large wok, heat ghee over medium heat until hot. Add fenugreek, stir and cook for about 1 min or until the seeds start to pop. Add the ginger and garlic, stir and cook until fragrant. Stir in the onions and cook for another minute.
3. Reduce heat to low and add the curry paste. Stir-fry for about 2–3 mins or until the paste is fragrant and starts to darken, and the oil starts to ooze from the paste. Add tamarind water, water, coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients except the fish head. Season with sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Bring to a gentle boil and lower the fish head into the wok. Add more water if the gravy doesn’t come at least halfway up the fish head. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 mins, until the flesh is opaque and flakes off easily with a fork. Don’t overcook.
5. When done, turn off the heat and let stand for about 15 mins for the flavours to meld. Serve immediately with bread or rice.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Joseph John Krishnan, Chef de Partie (Indian Section) at Le Meridien KL / Photos: Patrick Chan/ Blu Inc Media and Chris Leong/Nat Communications