Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nice and Easy Fish Curry (Florence Tan)

When I was born in Singapore, my parents were renting one little room in a three-room HDB (Housing Development Board) flat. At that time, we didn't have money to buy a flat and couldn't afford to rent an entire flat for ourselves. To afford a flat, my mum had to work immediately after she had me and my grandmother (my mum's mum) is the primary care for me at all times. I grew up living with my grandmother for years until I married and moved to Australia.

Although we are not the
PeranakanI remember cooking a lot of Nyonya food when I was growing up living with my grandmother... We used to cook Nyonya curry, Nyonya glutinous rice dumplings, make Nyonya kuehs and bake lots of pineapple tarts. At that time, my grandmother and I love hanging out and cooking in her kitchen, listening too Hokkien songs. Being a typical ambitious generation Y Singaporean girl, I grew up telling myself that I'm not going to cook and raise kids at home and so didn't bother learning any cooking skills from my grandmother. Sad that I'm kind of regretful now. I really miss my grandmother and her cooking and sad that I can't turn back the clock now.

Thanks to internet, cookbooks and blogging, I'm glad that I'm picking up Nyonya cooking these days. This nice and easy curry is from the book, Recipes From A Nyonya Kitchen by Florence Tan and I actually bought this book through Lena's (Frozen wings) recommendation. Thanks Lena! This is a good curry from a good book!

Nyonya Fish Curry
The star ingredients of this dish - Curry powder and Curry leaves
More ingredients to make the curry paste
Cooking the fragrant curry paste
Homemade curry gravy - Ta dah!
Adding in our favourite fish and okra...
Beautiful, isn't it?
Thumb up, mummy! I must give myself a thumb up too for all the effort learning to cook :)

Here's the recipe from the book, Recipes From A Nyonya Kitchen by Florence Tan
(with my note and modification in blue)

Serves 6

180 ml (3/4 cup) cooking oi
(I used canola oil and reduced the amount to 1/3 cup)
3 sprigs curry leaves
2.5 cm cinnamon stick
4 cardamoms
40g (1/2 cup) fish curry powder, blended with 90ml water
600ml (2 1/2 cups) coconut milk, extracted from 300g grated coconut
(I used Ayam brand light coconut milk)
90ml (3/8 cup) tamarind juice, extracted from 1 tbsp tamarind pulp and 90 ml water
(I used 60ml (1/4 cup) of tamarind puree plus 120 ml water) 
500g Spanish mackerel fillets
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp seasoning powder
8 young lady's fingers (okra), stemmed
(We like okra very much and I have added 15)
1 red chilli, halved lengthways and sliced diagonally
1 green chilli, halved lengthways and sliced diagonally

Finely Ground Paste

7 dried chillies, soaked in water and drained
20 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 candlenuts
1 cm galangal, peeled
2.5 cm ginger, peeled
3 stalks lemon grass, sliced


Heat the cooking oil and fry curry leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamoms and finely ground paste until fragrant.

Add the curry paste and fry until aromatic. Stir in the coconut milk and tamarind juice.

Bring to a boil and add fish. Season with soy sauce, salt and seasoning powder. Stir occasionally to prevent curdling. After cooking for 5 mins, add lady's fingers (okra) and chillies. Cook for another 4 mins until the fish is done.

Happy Cooking
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  1. Looks delicious!! Love the flavor of lemongrass... This is so easy..

  2. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comJune 27, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Zoe, this is definitely yummy. Like it :)

  3. I'll give you two thumbs up. I can see even I cant tasted it, it sure looks real delicious!!

  4. Well done Zoe...nothing is too late to learn as long as you set your heart on it:) In fact, I find you a PRO in every cooking/baking you do....making us all drool over every posting you do!

  5. Zoe,I have learnt cooking from my granny so fully understand your relationship with her.Granny's have gems of knowledge in store.
    And its never late to learn. Would love to see more recipes from your heritage.
    This curry looks yummy.

  6. Hi Zoe,
    Delicious curry! It is great that you are taking the effort to learn all those that you have missed. Some of my mom's recipes I did not learn as well, really regret that too!
    You did well, Zoe! :)

  7. i have one grandma pot same like you... can share me some curry??!!

  8. This looks lovely, I can almost taste it. I wish I'd taken some more of my grandmas recipes sometimes too, funny how it changes :) BUt yay for google! xx

  9. I miss my grandmother for the same reason too :)
    This looks really delicious..thumbs up!

  10. I think I'd give this a thumbs up as well! Looks awesome!!

  11. This looks scrumptious, Zoe - I've just bought some okra and was wondering how to use up the excess, so perfect timing ;-)

  12. definitely a very nice curry Zoe, warm rice please...

  13. This is so delicious, Zoe! I would give you thumbs up too!

  14. What a great way to relive the memories and revive the past.

  15. The dish looks very yum and flavour packed.

  16. This looks wonderful Zoe! I love fish curry and yours sounds great with all the fragrant herbs and spices. Two thumbs up for sure:)

  17. Zoe,
    This is a winner ... love all the ingredients.

  18. I really envy those who can cook curries from scratch, I am just too overwhelmed with the long list of ingredients that I have to gather in order to prepare it...your curry looks so delicious with the perfect thickness which I love!

  19. Yummy Zoe, love this fish curry!

  20. must be good looking at the photos!! glad to hear that you like the book, i'm thinking of making one of her kuihs these days when i'm not lazy :)

  21. Just like most people , I have yet to cook curry from scratch . As Jeannie said , too many ingredients lol Maybe someday ..... Nothing beats the flavor of freshly-ground spices ! Your curry looks absolutely scrumptious - I just can imagine the wonderful smell while you're making that curry ;D

  22. Yum, this fish curry looks so flavoursome and beautiful :D


  23. Wow! very attractive and inviting fish curry!!! yummy!

  24. wow, your curry really looks good, Zoe. If any leftovers, would be great to be eaten with roti canai..bestnya!

  25. Zoe, this is a grated and yummy curry. i love nyonya curry so much.

  26. Definitely a tasty dish this one , Zoe. Homemade curry paste tastes totally different and fresh huh. Love that little chubby thumbs up of your son. so cute :)

  27. Zoe, that is a yummy fish curry! I must really make an effort to cook fish curry because all I have ever cooked is chicken and beef.

  28. Kudos to u, Zoe! Nonya food is not easy to cook! I heard it's really complicated as lots of ingredients are in just one dish. I enjoy Nonya food, but have never tried cooking it myself. I'm really impressed!

  29. Gosh, I love curry anything! For some reason I rarely do fish curry, though - I gotta change that! This looks wonderful - you've included really great flavors in this. Thanks so much.

  30. Looks very very inviting.. Loved the blend of spices :) Am bookmarking this.. Will try soon :)