Fishmonger at Tekka Market

Chinese fish curry recipe


This is a Malaysian-Chinese style fish head curry, as opposed to the Indian-style which uses fish curry powder, curry leaves, fenugreek and mustard seeds. I think most commercial fish curry powders are meant for Indian style curries, and so I made my own from scratch using ground coriander, chilli and turmeric. After three attempts, I was happy with how this final one turned out. Cod fish head was fantastic, although snapper head works perfectly well too. Some of you may cringe at the thought of having a fish head served at the dining table. If that's the case, you can always substitute with fish tail or fish cutlets. I love having lots of okra, eggplant and tofu puffs in my curry, making it pretty much a one pot wonder. Find the recipe after the jump.
Some handy tips before you start cooking this.

1. Ask your fishmonger to scale your fish head properly. Trust me, it's not pleasant having fish scales in the curry while you're eating.
2. Don't overcook the okra. 10-15 minutes is fine.
3. Don't let the coconut boil in the curry for too long, otherwise it will start to split.
4. Don't overcook the fish either.
5. Cook plenty of white rice as you will need it.
6. And finally, the fish cheek is the best part, so get to it first before anyone else does, but politely offer it to others before you land it on your plate.
Fish Head Curry Recipe
Ingredients

1 kg fish head (snapper or cod), cleaned and scaled
4 tbsp oil
2 stalks lemongrass, lightly bruised
3-4 cups water
1 1/4 cup (300ml) coconut milk (I used Kara canned coconut milk)
10 tofu puffs (Soya King brand)
2-3 tomatoes, quartered
10 okra (or add eggplant if desired)
Coriander leaves for garnish

Blend finely:
120g (4oz) shallots
4 cloves garlic
1 inch galangal
1 inch ginger
2 candlenuts
1/2 tbsp toasted belacan
3 tbsp chilli paste (dried chillies that have been soaked until softened, and finely blended)

Curry powder (mixed with 4 tbsp water to form a paste):
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Seasoning:
2 tsp chicken/ikan bilis stock powder

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