Sunday, 2 September 2007

Seychelles fish curry

Seychelles fish curry
Serves 4
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins


Every since I can remember we have always had a jar of massale (curry powder) in the kitchen cupboard. A heedy scent of cinammon,cloves coriander seeds and many others would waft as soon as the jar would open.These spices were ground by hand in a pestle and mortar. I really find this job such a pleasure. In the 1960's it was quite difficult to get hold of the necessary spices needed to make a curry powder. My parents had this made in the Seychelles and whenever we run out at home a jar was promptly sent over. My mum swears by the one her brother has been making for years .Fortunately, all of these spices are so readily available ,so it is not at all difficult to recreate a massale.Everyone makes massale and with that the flavour will vary slightly some may add more coriander seeds, cumin,or slightly less peppercorns.However, seychellois can always tell whether it is a seychelles masalle as opposed to an indian or a west indian curry powder.I do appreciate that making a massale might seem like alot to do but it can be stored for along time in a dark cupboard in an airtight container I promise it is worth it.!


For massalé:

2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp cardamom pods

1 tsp cloves

small piece of cinnamon

1 tsp ground chilli

1 tsp grated nutmeg

Method :

Dry roast the coriander seeds,cumin seeds,black peppercorns, cardamon pod and the clove,be careful and dont let them burn the flavour of the massale will be affected .Dry roast them until they are aromatic a few secs is all that is needed. Grind all dry ingredients in a coffee grinder or if you like have a go in the pestle and mortar(I've never been clear as to which is which,is the pestle the bowl?)Set them aside to cool a little and then grind ,add the chilli and the freshly grated nutmeg.

For curry:

900g/2lb snapper or monkfish if you want a boneless curry
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped

2 tbsp massalé

½ tsp ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, chopped
small piece ginger, chopped
3 tbsp tamarind water
leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
1tsp flat leaved parsley
450ml/¾ pint fish stock or water


Take the snapper and cut into slices the width is up to you. All fish curries are cooked with the heads on and bones.I am a great believer that the bones add to the sauce and add a depth of flavour.If using monk fish cut into bite sized pieces.Season with salt and pepper .

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and fry the onion until golden. .Add the garlic and the ginger, thyme ,parsley and stir to ensure nothing sticks.Add the massalle,turmeric (be careful if it looks like it will burn add a little of the stock/water) Add the fish nd all the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the fish is ready.

Serve with basmati rice, a chatini (Recipe to follow shortly) salad.

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