Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes over a low heat. Grind to a powder and reserve.
Trim the celery and dice. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 cm/½ in cubes. Peel and slice the onions and cut into thin rings. Peel, smash and chop the garlic. Destalk and deseed the chillies and cut into julienne strips.
Put half the olive oil in one large frying pan and half in the other, ideally non-stick and with a lid.
Put the potato dice in the non-stick pan and fry, tossing and turning from time to time.
At the same time in the other pan, fry the onions and celery, stirring occasionally. When the onions begin to soften, add the lime leaves, chillies, garlic, cumin, paprika and turmeric. Cook for a further 2—3 minutes, then season lightly with salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Leave in the pan while the potatoes finish cooking.
As soon as you judge the potatoes are cooked, season the fish steaks with salt and pepper and put them on top of the potatoes. Spoon the onion mixture over and around the steaks and pour over the passata. Bring to a bubble over a medium heat, immediately lower it, put the lid on and cook gently for 3 minutes.
Add the squid tentacles, if using, replace the lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes, when the cod should be just done. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
Serve in large warmed bowls, scattered with coriander leaves.
© 1995 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.