Eastern Fish Terrine

This fluffy and exotically flavoured terrine was inspired by the taste of some fish which was caught and cooked on a boat I was on in the Bay of Bengal, while visiting the remote Andaman Islands. No one would guess that it is based on that most English of fish, the kipper. Neither does it taste too assertive in any way; delicate and sophisticated is a better description. If you wish to do so, the terrine can be made at least a day in advance.


  • 225 g/8 oz kipper fillets
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 fresh green chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 50 g/2 oz butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 rounded teaspoons gelatine
  • 4 large eggs
  • 425 g/15 oz plain yoghurt
  • fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
  • salt


Remove the skin from the kipper and chop the flesh finely. Put the whole cardamom pods and the cloves in a coffee grinder and grind finely. Sieve and then mix with the turmeric and cayenne.

Cut the chillies open lengthways under running water and discard the seeds and stems. Peel the garlic and chop finely with the chillies. Melt the butter gently in a pan, add the mixed spices and stir briefly. Add the chillies and garlic and stir for half a minute, then add the kipper, lemon juice and tomato purée. Cover the pan and cook over a very gentle heat for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the gelatine into 4 tablespoons of barely simmering water and stir until dissolved. Add this liquid to the fish mixture and remove the pan from the heat. Separate the eggs, stirring the yolks into the fish mixture. Return the pan to a very low heat and stir constantly for 3 minutes, without allowing it to bubble. Remove from the heat. Taste now, taking into account that it will be slightly diluted by the egg whites, and add salt only if necessary. Turn the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool.

When the mixture is just cool and not yet setting, whisk the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks and, using a large metal spoon, fold them gently into the fish mixture a third at a time. Oil a loaf tin or a rectangular dish of about 600 ml/1 pint capacity, turn the fish mixture into it and spread level. Chill thoroughly until set.

Shortly before serving, dip the tin in hot water and, giving it a good shake, turn the terrine out on to a board. Spread a thin layer of the yoghurt on to each serving plate, cut the terrine into thickish slices and lay them in the centre of the yoghurt. Arrange the coriander leaves around the edge of the terrine slices.