Cooking curry is no big deal.. it’s easy, simple and straight forward.. but you got to have the right skills to get it correct. Being an infrequent cook at the kitchen, I admit that it’s something not very easy to do.
Mother on the other hand, having years of cooking experience, seems to be able to prepare a dish of fish curry flawlessly and without even a hint of hesitation. Every process and flow at the kitchen smoothly executed.
Ingredients for fish curry; Note: exact quantity used depends on one taste buds and experience.
Fish, about 500 gm. The proper kind of fish for curry is important. Bear in mind that not all fish are suitable for curry, best done with fish that won’t fall off when stir cooked in a curry stew.
5 garlic cloves. blended
5 shallots. blended.
1 packet 5 gm, curry powder.
3 lemon grass.
1 cup coconut milk.
2-3 kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut) for that lemon like aroma.
ginger. 1 cm thumb size.
2-3 asam keping. Garcinia atroviridis a.k.a Sour Slices/ Sliced Tamarind/ Tamarind Skin – gives the acidic sourly taste.
Preparation of the ingredients, is as important as cooking itself, fish are nicely cut, and thoroughly cleaned, the garlic and shallots are properly chopped and grind to the proper texture, essential for an even taste and harmonious mixture later on.
With a heated wok, sauté the garlic and shallots, together with lemon grass, lime leaves, filled with some cooking oil just about enough to cover all the ingredients.
When the aroma of the garlic flourishes, add the fish, curry paste (pre-mix with some water just to dilute) and left all of the content to mix together for a few minutes.
Then add some water to continue the cooking. Wait for the mixture of fish and brown gravy to boil.
When the fish is cooked, add coconut milk and wait for a few minutes for the mixture to blend together and boil again for the final cooking. The cooking process should take only 10 minutes, from the sauté to the flame out, any more than that is not right.
Finally do not forget to add salt to taste.
As always, homemade cooking is always the best. Curry being a dish that is simple to write, it is still, quite intricate. A wrong adjustment or improper balance to the mixture, especially the amount of curry powder, would definitely throw the taste off and ruin the dish. The mixture, of curry, coconut milk and water will determine the concentration of the gravy. Not too hot or too bland, another factor that would determine if it’s a good curry or not. I always hated curry being overwhelmingly hot and spicy as it just removes the original curry flavour.