Sunday, 26 January 2014

Claypot Fish Head Curry

You don't like your dinner staring back at you? Then don't try this at home. Fish head curry is not for the faint of heart. The tangy fish curry loaded with okra and aubergine features a massive fish head (normally a grouper or red snapper) full of meat for diners to pick at. This tastes much better than your regular curries, thanks to the flavour imparted by the fish head. So, if you're feeling brave, give this dish a go.

I used a salmon head from the local fish monger (only £1 for a large head!).

1 large fish head
1 onion, sliced
5 garlic, minced
3 slices ginger, minced
½ teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon spice mix (mixture of mustard seeds, fennel seeds, urad dhal and fenugreek)
3 stalks of curry leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 tablespoon fish curry powder
1-2 tablespoon chilli powder
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
6-8 small aubergines, halved (alternately, 1 large aubergine cut into wedges)
10-15 small okra, trimmed (remove the stem and tip)
6-8 cherry tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste diluted in 1 bowl of water, strain and discard the seeds

Clean the fish head, season with salt and pepper and turmeric powder. Heat some oil in a claypot. Shallow fry it lightly on both sides for about two minutes. Be careful and use a splatter guard (or lid) if possible, frying fish head may cause spitting oil due to the fat or eyeball! Drain and keep aside for later. Use the same claypot to make the curry, so that none of the flavour is lost.

The rest of the process is similar to my earlier fish curry entry, only incorporate the fish head into the curry for 20 minutes before taking it off the heat and simmer over low heat. Enjoy!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Baby Kailan in Oyster Sauce

Kailan, a member of the broccoli family is a leafy vegetable that is common in Chinese cuisine both in restaurants and home cooking. The baby kailan, is considered an indulgence as the younger crop is both more tender and tastier than its older harvest (therefore more expensive too!). Stir-frying in oyster sauce is one of many simple ways of preparing these greens.


400g baby kalian
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
White pepper powder to taste

Prepare the greens by removing the flowers off the tops and halving them lengthwise. Wash these  thoroughly. Sauté the onion and garlic in a dessertspoon of cooking oil for 1 minute. Add the kailan to the frying ingredients and turn the heat to high. Add the oyster sauce and stir for 3-4 minutes. The vegetable should still retain its crunch when eaten, so don't overcook it. Serve as a side dish with rice and meat or other vegetable dishes.