The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Goan-style fish curry

The Asian cycle has started already ! Let's see if there are any positive effects on my it got even colder, I think it reached 1C and I couldn't avoid leaving the house (I was running out of, really, the basics...) so I wrapped up warm and faced the cold. "Courage!" I said to myself. I was probably looking more like I was going on an expedition to the Arctic...

I must confess that I have no merit whatsoever in the making of this dish - except giving inspiration... R. did it all. And I was so pleased with it - I even had it twice (which doesn't happen often). But I twisted his arm and extrapolate the recipe..hopefully he didn't innocently omit a key ingredient!!

What we had last night was exactly what I was after. Some warm and spicy food which made me think of distant white sands and waving palms. I had something similar in Mombasa last January, with the only difference of king prawns instead of pollock.

Kenyan coastal food has strong influences from India - I think it has a specific name but I cannot remember now. It combines all the old favourite spices together with coconut, coriander and ginger. What we had is called in Kenya Kuku Paka. It is normally made with chicken but variations on the theme are common.

Fish Kuku Paka (or Fish Curry)

For 2 people

2 pollock fillets (or cod, haddock or sea bass, if you feel rich)
3 tinned plum tomatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 tsp coconut cream
half an onion
2 garlic cloves
vegetable or fish stock (1l water)
1 handful fresh coriander

1. Sprinkle a generous handful of salt on the fish. Chop it into small/medium pieces.

2. In a large pan fry the chopped onion and crushed garlic in 2 tbsp of oil. Peel and chop in small pieces the sweet potatoes. Put the cubed potatoes in the pan and stir well to make sure they coat with the onions without burning.

3. Make the broth by melting the stock cube in a litre of water. Pour the water onto the potatoes to cover them and let it simmer on high heat. Add the fish and continue stirring.

4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes to ensure the sauce thickens up. If it doesn't you can add a tea spoon of corn starch mixing well to avoid lumps.

5. Add the coconut cream and cook for another 5 minutes.

6. Before the curry is done, cook separately the rice (ideally basmati ) in enough water to cover the rice of only half a finger having added to the water a couple of tea spoons of salt and a knob of butter.

7. Sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander to the curry before serving. Sprinkle some more once it is served on the plates. Serve it with the rice.

The photo is not great as my eye was suffering last night so I couldn't see whether I was putting on focus or not...I am only using manual focus now so deep concentration is required!

I leave you dreaming on these images now that outside is freezing and you are shivering in your mean I am...well at least we are in the same boat! I am also shivering! Brrrrrr.....

The idea of going for a peaceful walk on the beach in Mombasa (at least around the hotels) is simply a dream. Unless you are very resolute and on the brink of rudeness, and you are a woman (small detail I was about to forget) you will inevitably be accompanied. But to my surprise I even found myself giving trade mark advice on a possible logo infringement more random could it be?

The city of Mombasa is not much. Faded beauty and forgotten poverty which most of those tourists enclosed in luxurious resorts don't want to see. People seemed suspicious somehow but once you started talking to few of them they seem genuinely interested. It was pretty nice.

Getting lost in the market and the maze of little road is always good fun - and you can be sure to find somebody who wants to point you to the right direction, perhaps after having taken you to his cousin/uncle/father's shop...

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