The original recipe for this curry is correct and milder than this version which I’ve made slightly hotter for winter.
I got the inspiration for the Fruit and Nutty Fish Curry from a recipe for Fruity Chicken Curry. I remembered changing a couple of things like using fish rather than chicken and not adding mango – but actually the fish curry recipe is completely different to the chicken one. The chicken dish uses curry powder and yoghurt, whereas the fish curry uses garam masala and coconut milk – sweetened coconut milk. I’ve made it with the normal sweetened coconut milk and an unsweetened one, and the sweetened one is nicer.
It’s been quite a while since I made this and when I saw how different the Fish Curry is from its inspiration I assumed that the recipe must be wrong. I was certain about using coconut milk because I remember being disappointed to realise one of the reasons the dish was so sweet was because of the coconut milk. Yes, I don’t just love fruit in my savoury dishes I also love when they’re a little on the sweet side. I decided there must have been curry powder in the original fish curry recipe. Turns out there wasn’t, the original recipe is correct but I thought I’d post this variation because it’s a little hotter and I used frozen fish fillets (haddock) so it’s handy.
I used a smaller tin of coconut cream rather than coconut milk – because that was what I had in the press. I’m not sure whether this is spicier because there’s less creamy coconut in it or because I added some curry powder or what – maybe the chillies I used are spicier – whatever the reason this is definitely spicier. Also it’s less sweet so the pineapple adds lovely bursts of sweetness.
I remember the first time I made it, the fresh pineapple made my tongue a little raw. Pineapple contains an enzyme, bromelain which is responsible for this effect. Usually cooking will denature the enzyme but I had included the core in the chopped pineapple and I guess I hadn’t cooked it long enough. The highest concentration of the enzyme is found in the core so cut it out to avoid the tongue-tingling-rawness-thing. I had heard that sprinkling salt on pineapple denatures the enzyme. This isn’t true but pineapple tastes great with salt sprinkled on it – so I do that.
Yes, I’m aware that coconuts are not actually nuts. But I like the name.
4 frozen boned firm white fish fillets (e.g. cod, hake, haddock)
1 pineapple, skinned, cored, chopped into bite-size portions and sprinkled with a little salt.
1 160ml tin coconut cream
2 medium-sized onions, chopped roughly
2 inches ginger root, grated
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 chillies, de-seeded and sliced thinly
1 teaspoon mild curry mix
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 red bell pepper, stalk, core and seeds removed, chopped
some broccoli florets or tender stem tips
5-6 medium-sized mushroom, quartered
To avoid overcooking the veg quickly fry the broccoli and mangetout in a little sunflower oil on a medium heat. Cook until they have become a little tender but still have some bite. Place them on a plate for later. Do the same with the carrots and red pepper. Next cook the mushrooms in a little sunflower oil, with one clove of garlic crushed and a little salt. Cook on a high heat, stirring all the time. Transfer to the plate when done.
Turn the heat down and let the pan cool a little. Add a little drop of oil and add the onion. Cover the pan and let the onions soften for 2 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, turmeric, curry powder and a good pinch of salt. Cover and leave for another 2 - 3 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add in the ginger, garlic and chillies, stir around well and cover for another two minutes.
Next stir in the coconut milk and pineapple. Add the fish fillets to pan and place them under the other stuff in the pan. Increase the heat a little so that the sauce starts to simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat a low-moderate setting. Leave to cook for 12 minutes or until the fish easily flakes apart. By this time there will be more liquid in the pan. Take off the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce - should just take a minute or two. Add back in the mushrooms, the carrots and bell peppers and finally the mangetout and the broccoli. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle over a little salt, taste and add a little more if necessary.