Friday, December 09, 2016

Salted Cod And Cashew Nut Curry

This recipe was partly inspired by Cambodia's national dish, amok - river fish cooked with mild spices and coconut. Amok varies enormously from home to home over there. Most resemble a sort of runny, yellow curry, but the supposedly authentic ones are steamed in banana leaves and, with the addition of beaten egg, come out like souffles. So chaotic is the dish, you could say it runs ... oh, never mind.

Salted fish is also an important ingredient for the Khmers, and works well in this curry. As for the cashew nuts, you can pick them off the trees over there. Remember to only add salt at the end, if necessary, as it is difficult to estimate how salty the fish is and how much soaking it will need. Obviously the saltier you like it, the less soaking it needs.

300g salt cod or pollack, skinless and boneless
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves
4 green cardamon pods
4 cloves
2 tsps ground coriander
2 tsps ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsps olive oil
6 red chillies, fewer if you don't like heat
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 large yellow or orange pepper, diced
1 bay leaf
120g tinned tomatoes, chopped
400ml coconut milk
20 cashew nuts

Soak the salted fish overnight in a saucepan full of cold water. Change the water a couple of times. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the chopped onion. Stir and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until reduced heavily in size. Add the diced pepper, bay leaf and garlic and cook for another few minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the cardamon, cumin, turmeric, coriander, sugar and vinegar. Stir for a minute, adding a splash of water if the spices start to catch. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk.

Cover the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring half way through. Then add the fish, cut into inch-wide pieces, cashew nuts and whole red chillies. Stir well and cover the pressure cooker again. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring half way through.

Serve with fresh coriander, salad and boiled rice.

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