With a fantastic selection of spices and seeds adding a sophisticated depth of flavour, anyone who tries this easy fish curry recipe by Mark Hix won't believe just how simple it is to make. The hearty lentils and chunks of succulent fish (the chef recommends monkfish tail or halibut collar, the cheap, flavourful cut favoured by those in the know) make this curry recipe makes a filling and satisfying pescatarian meal. Remember to allow the lentils plenty of time to soak before cooking.
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30 minutes before cooking, prepare the lentils. Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside and leave to soak for 1 hour
4 tbsp of split yellow moong lentils
Meanwhile, season the chunks of fish generously with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with the flour. Place a heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat and add half the ghee. Fry the fish in the ghee until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set to one side
600g of monkfish tail, or any other firm-fleshed fish, cut into 3cm chunks
flour, for dusting
30g of ghee
Add the remaining ghee to the pan and fry the garlic, ginger, onions and chopped chilli for a few minutes until soft. Add the spices and seeds and continue to cook to release the flavours, stirring occasionally
30g of ghee
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp of ginger, chopped
3 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch of saffron strands
1 tsp curry powder
1 pinch of curry leaves
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
Add the tomato purée, lemon juice and stock the the pan, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Drain the soaked lentils and stir these into the curry, then bring the mixture up to the boil and allow to simmer gently for 1 hour
2 lemons, juice only
2 tsp tomato purée
1.3l fish stock
After this time, check the consistency of the curry – the lentils should have broken down and thickened the liquid. If the consistency is still a little loose, continue to simmer for a further 15 minutes
Ladle out a large mugful of sauce and blitz until smooth in a blender. Pour back into the pan, stirring well until fully incorporated
Add the fried fish to the curry sauce and simmer gently in the liquid for 10 minutes until warmed through. Stir through the chopped coriander and simmer for a further 5 minutes
2 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped
Divide the fish curry between bowls, garnishing each with a few sprigs of fresh coriander. Serve immediately with steamed basmati rice on the side
1 handful of coriander leaves
basmati rice, steamed
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