I had the joy of spending 3 weeks travelling around Sri Lanka a few years ago and had the amazing opportunity of being taught this recipe by one of our hosts's mum at our guest house in the mountains of Kandy.
I was frantically trying to write down the recipe while only watching the mum cook. As no English was spoken and I unfortunately didn't speak Hindi. After weeks of perfecting the recipe when i got home i finally cracked the exact quantities and the flavour i wanted to recreate. One difference that will always be hard to recreate is the fresh coconut milk and flesh. Or though I have spent time extracting the fresh coconut milk from coconuts back here in England it never quite tastes the same.
50g coriander seeds
25g cumin seeds
25g fennel seeds
1 x cinnamon sick
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp mustard seeds
- Lightly toast all the above spices and until you start smelling the spices aroma.
- Grind them in a spice/coffee grinder or a pestle mortar.
250g or about two onions finely diced
25ml vegetable oil
Garlic 2tbs of garlic minced with the back of the knife or in a crusher.
60g of fresh ginger grated finely.
Chilli powder 1tsp
500ml good quality chopped tomatoes
2 x tins of coconut milk
20ml lime juice ( about two limes) and zest
25g fresh coriander
4 x 150g portions of hake fillet
a hand full of baby spinach leaves.
- Finely dice your onion and sweat down in a heavy based sauce ban on a low heat in vegetable oil. Sprinkle the salt over the onions, this will help the onions sweat quicker and bring our the sugars.
- Once your onion is translucent and soft ( about 10 mins) add your garlic and ginger.
- Add 4 tsp of the Sri Lankan curry powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add your chopped tomatoes and coconut milk
- Reduce for 45 minutes to an hour on a low heat.
- While your sauce is reducing, season your fish with salt, pepper and lime zest.
- Cook in the oven at 170 degrees for 5-10 mins depending on how thick your fish is.
- Leave to rest for a further 5 mins, add any juices to the curry sauce.
- Once the sauce is reduced, season with salt and maybe a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes need sweetening. Then blitz in a food processor or a stick blender until smooth
- Add the lime juice, fresh coriander, chickpeas and spinach.
- Spoon the sauce onto the plate and place the hake on top. Ready to serve!