- Cuisine: Malaysian
- Serves: 6
- Type: Curry-Fish
- 1.5 kg fish head, preferably snapper
- 60 ml (Â¼ cup) vegetable oil
- Â¼ tsp black mustard seeds
- 50 curry leaves (see note)
- Â¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 stalk lemon grass, outer leaves removed, white part only, bruised
- 1 star anise
- 30 gm (Â¼ cup) Malaysian fish curry powder (see note)
- 2Â½ tbsp tamarind pulp, soaked in 2 cups of warm water
- 500 ml (2 cups) light coconut milk
- 5 small okra
- 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into wedges
- 1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges
- 5 dried long red chillies, soaked in boiling water until soft, drained
- 2 fresh long red chillies, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
- 5 red shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cm piece turmeric, thinly sliced
- 2 cm piece galangal, coarsely chopped
- 5 cm piece ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
Rinse fish head in cold water, season with 1 tsp of salt, stand for 20 minutes and wash off salt just before cooking.
For spice paste, process ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Heat oil in a large wok or pan over medium-high heat and fry mustard seeds until they pop, add curry leaves and fenugreek seeds, stir for a few seconds, then add spice paste, lemongrass and star anise. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until fragrant and oil separates. Add curry powder and stir for another 2 minutes. Strain tamarind mixture into pan, discarding solids, add coconut milk and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
Place fish head into sauce, reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 8-10 minutes or until fish is almost cooked. Add okra and eggplant, then simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until soft. Season to taste with white sugar and salt, add tomato and serve immediately with rice passed separately.