Kingfish Curry

Indian Ocean Curry

Served in restaurants dotted around the Indian Ocean, the popular king fish is often found swimming in a sea of tomatoes and coriander surrounded by spice minnows such as cardamom and chilli. It’s a dish with a grown-up taste. Far from the chaos of the bazaar, it is more likely to be found navigating its way through shoals of restaurants staffed by waiters in white mess jackets. A young man like my uncle Stan may have felt this was a ‘coming of age’ dish. It was the taste of an honest wage and the first fruit of economic independence in his hometown, Karachi. He knew, like his brothers had discovered, that his future resided overseas, and these simple pleasures were a foretaste of what he hoped was to come.
I love the texture and taste of this fish. A buttery meaty form, it’s the perfect straight man to this curry’s cheeky persona. However, I’ve found it to be elusive on Blighty’s fish counters. For the dedicated, it can be picked up in Asian supermarkets. However, for the convenient cook, I’d recommend salmon or tuna steaks.

King Fish Curry

Serves 4–6

  • 1kg king fish steaks or similar firm fish steaks

For the curry paste

  • 5 large tomatoes
  • 5 green chillies
  • 50g fresh coriander leaves
  • <c>For the curry sauce
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste 
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste 
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp dried fenugreek leaves, finger-crumbled
  • 175ml water
  • Salt
Kingfish curry

How To Make Kingfish Curry 

Creating the paste is easy: simply blend all the ingredients together. In a pan large enough to poach the fish in a single layer, heat the oil over a medium temperature and sauté the cardamom pods and bay leaves for a minute until they’ve darkened in colour. Add the curry paste to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, then drop in the rest of the ingredients, stirring and seasoning well.

Carefully layer in the fish and poach for 10–15 minutes on a low heat until the fish is firm enough to flake (test with a fork). Gently stir and add a little more water if necessary to avoid the mix sticking, then simmer for a further 5 minutes. King Curry packs a wicked aromatic punch and it’ll fill your senses with the Karachi coastline.

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I have some salmon in my freezer I will experiment your recipe over the weekend and bring back memories from Karachi and my Mom from UP in India.

By Victor Peters on October 06, 2014

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