Saturday seafoodJanuary 11, 2010
Funny how you can have a groaning bookshelf full of cookbooks and still sit round wondering what to possibly cook for dinner, isn’t it? Which is where the weekend papers come in (I barely read them really – just flick to the books, which are hardly there anyway these days, and the recipes)…
So Saturday’s dinner was this seafood curry, a thrown-together version of Terry Durack’s Good Weekend kingfish curry. I used prawns and barramundi instead of kingfish, because I decided on dinner just before five o’clock, the perfectly adequate fish shop across the road had no kingfish, and it was way too hot to bother getting in the car to go to the best local seafood place we have, Faros Bros fish market (it’s a beauty).
I am an ignoramus about seafood generally, being an inland-bred girl, and am sure barramundi is not supposed to be great for curries – too delicate, or you overwhelm it or something, but it was lovely.
My version was given extra oomph because I had made & frozen a prawn stock which the Empress urged me to do after we ate these fantastic Neil Perry marinated barbecued prawns with her & the emperor on Christmas Eve, and she said the grilled shells were too good to waste. I can’t tell you how amazing that stock was – gave the whole thing a deep richness it wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Anyhoo – here’s what we did for our Saturday seafood curry, shopped for at five, eaten by seven. It was more than enough for two, probably more adequate for four non-greedy-grunters, so our (ahem, small) leftovers are safely in the freezer for some midweek surprise sometime.
Seafood curry in a slowish sort of hurry
- 100ml rice bran oil
- 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 8 curry leaves
- ½ an onion, chopped
- 3cm knob ginger, finely chopped
- coriander roots & stems, finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 fresh birdseye chilli (only because we had a single one on our teeeeeny chilli bush – use as many as you like)
- ½ cup tomato passata
- 1 – 2 cups prawn stock (use water or chicken stock in its place)
- 1-2 handfuls frozen peas
- 100g shelled green prawns
- 2 barramundi fillets, cut into three or four pieces each
- 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
- ¼ bunch chopped coriander
- lime wedges, to serve
- Basmati rice
- Heat the oil, and when hot toss in mustard & fenugreek seeds & curry leaves. When they start to pop & crackle, add the onion, garlic & coriander stems, cook a few minutes till translucent.
- Add other spices, passata & stock, and simmer gently, covered, for around 20 -30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook some Basmati rice & leave to fluff.
- When you think the rice is ready, toss in the peas and cover to cook for two or three minutes.
- Chuck in the prawns & slip in the fish pieces, turn the heat to low (or even off, if you aren’t quite ready to serve),add the dollop of yoghurt, and leave a few minutes.
- When you’re quite ready to eat – table set, rice fluffed & on the table with the lime & the glasses ‘o wine – up ze fire (as an old Italian friend used to say) enough to ensure the fish is just cooked, then put the curry in a bowl.
- Sprinkle with coriander & and take to ze table.
- Serve with flourish and flush of pride.
* By the way, the rice here is served in a beautiful wooden bowl given to me at New Year’s by Miss Jane J, she of Ali’s mention in an earlier comment. Isn’t it gorgeous? Did you get any good kitchenish presents for Christmas? Do tell. And if you got any shockers, even better!