South East Asian fish molee with curry leaves and coconut milk

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Sumayya's quick fish curry recipe is full of South East Asian flavours. Haddock is gently poached in a coconut milk based sauce with whole green chillies and curry leaves for added heat and flavour.

First published in 2015

An ingredient found in many South Asian and South East Asian curries and dishes, coconut milk adds a sweet milky taste, producing a thinner curry sauce. It has a tendency of curdling, so once added the dish must be gently simmered, the heavy fat content adding flavour and richness to curries as well. Most coconut milk based curries incorporate a bit of salt, sour and heat to balance the sweetness of the coconut. Many people are familiar with Keralan, Thai and South Indian curries that use this ingredient, here is a recipe that may possibly have links in Indian and Malay cooking but through time has found its place in Singaporean cuisine. The key in cooking fish molee is using fresh firm white fish and lovely fragrant red chillies.





Heat the oil in a large pan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and onion and allow to splutter. As soon as the onions soften (not brown) add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and salt and cook for 30 seconds
Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, then add the whole green chillies. Next add the coconut milk, 50ml of water and turn the heat down low. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes
Remove the lid and add the haddock pieces. Gently cook until the fish is cooked through (about 3–4 minutes), stir through the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve with plain rice

Sumayya Usmani is a cookbook author, writer and cookery teacher who specialises in Pakistani cuisine.

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