Thoramalu – Sri Lankan Fish Curry

The great thing about fish curries, aside their taste, is the cooking time involved. Excellent news when you’ve been sat behind a desk all day doing nothing. Quick as you like they’re on the plate. If, like me, you make the curry powder in advance and store it in anticipation you’ll have your dinner on your plate in the time it takes for the rice to boil. This curry, from Sri Lanka uses coconut milk to give a creamy fragrant gravy which sits in perfect harmony with the fish. I bought pretty cheap fish for this curry which is all it needs. The delicious sauce more than makes up for any of the fishes shortcomings, so don’t think you have to spend a fortune on expensive seafood. Nobody will thank you for it.

400-500g white fish fillets (skinned and boned)
400ml coconut milk
3 fresh red chillies (slit along the edge)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (soaked for 30 mins)
2 tablespoons fresh fenugreek (chopped) (optional)
10 fresh curry leaves
1 lemon grass stalk (white only, bruised)
1 onion (very finely chopped)
1 tomato (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Sri Lankan curry powder*
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Fresh coriander
Fresh tomato

*For the curry powder: (Makes more than you need but will keep for months)
1 tablespoon rice
2 tablespoons dessicated coconut
1/2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground fennel
10 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

To make the curry powder:

In a small frying pan dry fry the rice for 30-40 seconds till it browns slightly remove then fry the coconut until lightly browned then finally dry fry the fenugreek for 30 seconds. Place all the dried fried ingredients into a spice grinder then grind into a fine powder. Stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside.

To make the curry:
Cut the fish into large chunks and set aside.

Pour the coconut milk and 200ml of water into a saucepan along with everything but the fish. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes then tip in the fish. Shake the pan to cover the fish with liquid. Don’t stir as you’ll break the fish up – shake the pan gently to move the fish about. Simmer for 5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Serve with a side of tomato and coriander and some crunchy pickled cabbage.

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