Fish curry with cumin rice

Posted on 26 February 2020

This dish is a perfect showcase of the Cape Malay style, with its full-bodied medley of Southeast Asian aromatics such as ginger, cumin seeds and coconut milk. We’ve used fish as the Cape Malay culture is closely tied to the sea.

Serves 6

For the curry:

4 x 150g hake fillets, skin on
3 T flour
5 T oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
5cm knob ginger, sliced
1 chilli, finely sliced
1 t cumin seeds
1 t fennel seeds
1 T turmeric
1 T leaf masala
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
3 dates, soaked in ½ cup boiling water
1 bay leaf
¼ cup fresh coriander
Salt and pepper

For the rice:

1 onion, finely chopped
3 T oil
2 t cumin seeds
2 t mustard seeds
2 t ground cumin
1 t chilli flakes
⅓ cup curry leaves
2 sticks cinnamon
1 T butter
3 cups cooked rice

For serving:

1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 lemon, cut into wedges
6 poppadoms, fried

1. Lightly dredge fish fillets in flour. Heat oil in a pan and sear the fish until the skin is crisp.
2. Remove the fish, add the onion to the pan and fry until golden.
3. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and fry until fragrant.
4. Add in the spices (and 2 tablespoons of water, if you like, to ensure they don’t burn).
5. Pour in coconut milk, dates (with soaking liquid), bay leaf and coriander and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to medium and gently place the fish back in the curry. Simmer for 10 minutes.
7. For the rice, fry onion on a low heat until caramelised.
8. Add spices and fry for a minute.
9. Add the butter and let it melt into the spiced onion mixture.
10. Add rice and stir until everything is combined. 11 Season curry to taste and garnish with chilli.

*Tip For a more extravagant dish, add prawns and mussels to the curry.

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