Fish head curry

Fish head curry

Singapore street food

By
From
South East Asian Food

Curry made from giant fish heads alone is a very popular version of fish curry offered in curry shops and food stalls in Singapore today, although it is not a dish you would find in India itself. According to Margaret Chan’s Foodstops, it was first created by two Indian cooks in Singapore in 1964. Certainly I do not remember it figuring prominently there in 1965 when I went to research the first edition of this book.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons commercial malaysian fish curry powder
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small red chillies, seeded and sliced into two lengthwise
6 okra, cut diagonally into two
2 small peeled tomatoes, quartered
3 cups all-purpose coconut milk
1/4-1/2 cup tamarind water
salt
1 large fish head, or 2 smaller ones

Tempering

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
1 stalk curry leaves
1 brown onion, cut in half across and then finely sliced lengthwise

Paste spices

Quantity Ingredient
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
5 shallots

Method

  1. First make the spice paste. Mash the ginger, garlic and shallots to a paste in the usual way. Mix with the curry powder, adding a little water to achieve a paste. Heat the oil in a pan. Put in the tempering ingredients and fry for a minute, then add the chillies, okra and the spice paste and stir-fry until everything is fragrant. Add the tomatoes and mix, then add the coconut milk, tamarind water and salt to taste. Bring to simmering point, stirring all the time, and allow to cook for a few minutes until well amalgamated. Put in the fish head and simmer gently until it and the okra are half cooked. Turn the head over and continue simmering until done.
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