Is summer over? I’m asking because it’s only now I’m going to post some of the dishes I made during the past season.
Well, we had been fishing, as you know. And aside from the mackerel we got, we also caught a lone sea bass. It was an emotional moment for me, of course. But I guess when we get our food from their natural habitat and not from the supermarket fridge we get to appreciate how nature sustains us–and the need for us to sustain the ecological balance as well.
Fish molee—this dish is from Rick Stein’s recipe book “India”. I’ve made this several times before, albeit a bit modified, and I loved it! But this time, I decided to follow almost everything to the letter. Well, almost (for one—my order of sautéing is different). I’ll tell you my verdict at the end.
Oil for sautéing (Stein specifies mustard or vegetable oil—I used groundnut oil, simply because my friend S says with Indian food, one usually uses groundnut oil)
4 cloves garlic (I crushed them instead of cutting in half lengthways)
2 green chillies (split)
2 onions (julienned)
4cm ginger (I just sliced them thinly—‘couldn’t be bothered to shred!)
2 black cardamom pods (lightly bruised)
2 x 3cm pieces of cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf (optional – Stein specifies Indian bay leaf—I used one from Grenada—I wonder if they would have been the same?)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp plain flour
1 tsp salt
medium size sea bass (Stein specifies 600g river cobbler, or pouting, or whiting)
200ml coconut milk
Juice of ½-1 lime
1. Saute in this order: garlic, chillies, onions and ginger.
2. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Then the turmeric.
3. Stir in the flour and salt.
4. Pour just enough water to cover the fish, and simmer for 3 minutes.
5. Add the coconut milk. Simmer for 3 minutes.
6. Turn off the stove and add the lime juice.
7. Serve with rice, of course!
My verdict: By halving the coconut this time (instead of using the whole 400ml tin when I wasn’t following the recipe), adding water and flour—the dish gave a silky-creamy consistency—similar to those of instant crème soups. It is also “lighter” in taste. I’d say it’s Anglicized, and it may be to your liking.
But next time, I’d use the whole 400ml tin of coconut, and cut out the water and the flour (which I used to do). What coconut brand do I use? The one with the 75% coconut kernel extract (it used to be 87%!)—most authentic in taste. I let the dish cook in half of it, and then just before turning off the stove, I pour in the other half—when it melts, that’s when I turn off the stove (the purpose is to get that coconut-creamy consistency).
‘Hope you enjoyed your summer!