Spicy Fish Curry

I have eaten this wonderful fish curry many times in Singapore and Malaysia. In those countries, surrounded as they are by water, fresh fish is a standard staple in every home and on every menu. This recipe is a simplified version of the original. Most fish have a delicate taste and texture and one must be careful in applying any seasoning or spice. I have found Madras curry paste a great convenience; it works almost as well as the time-consuming hand-made curry paste. Added to a firm white fish fillet, it makes a fragrant, savoury, delectable treat that goes perfectly with plain rice.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh boneless, skinless, firm white fish fillets, such as cod, halibut or sea bass
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 600 ml (1 pint) groundnut oil or 1 litre ( pints) water
  • 175 g (6 oz) onions, coarsely chopped
  • tablespoons finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Madras curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) tinned coconut milk

For the Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions

Method

Cut the fish into 5-cm (2-in) pieces and then combine them with the egg white, salt, pepper and cornflour in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well and chill for 20 minutes.

Heat a wok until it is very hot, then add the oil. When the oil is very hot, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the fish pieces, stirring vigorously to prevent them from sticking. When the fish pieces turn white (about 2 minutes), quickly drain the fish and all the oil in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil and discard the rest.

If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to the boil in a pan. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the fish pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the fish pieces turn white (about 2 minutes), quickly drain the fish in a stainless steel colander.

Re-heat the wok, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil (if you used the water method, add 2 tablespoons of fresh oil), and when it is hot, add the onions, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add the curry paste, soy sauce, salt, sugar and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the fish pieces and heat for 3 minutes. Garnish with the spring onions and serve at once.

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