Finally, an assam fish curry that’s passable to cook at home, if I should crave for it. Generally, I prefer to eat assam fish head curry in a restaurant. But sometimes, your favorite restaurant close down, (because the chef runs away) – which happened twice. And now, our current favorite is in West Coast.
The magic is in the pineapple and fresh fish! If chilli is too hot, add brown sugar. I use shavings of Gula Melakka which gives it a nice bouquet, and the chilli doesnt bite my tongue that much. I’m not sure if this is authentic, but I like the aromatics of chilli without burning my tongue. Other recipes call for laksa leaf (daun kesom) which I don’t have, so I substitute for curry leaves (which I have tree load full) and limau purut.
Curry leaf plant thrives in hot sun. The minah propagates it via seeds from the berries which it loves. The limau purut is a shade plant, and in my mom’s place it has grown into a huge plant too, with lovely big leaves. Her Malay neighbour mince limau purut and serve it with sambal belachan chilli and a twist of lime. Sambal belachan doesnt keep well in the fridge, so I don’t indulge myself with any in the fridge. Serve it with freshly fried prawn crackers. Heavenly. (Refrain as its bad for the throat. I’m careful with heaty food.)
Ingredients for curry paste
Ginger (Old, young and blue – but I use old ginger only)
2 pc dried chilli
few pieces of tamarind pulp (pingpong ball size), soaked in water
1/2 piece belachan (black smelly shrimp paste)
2 stalks lemongrass (white portion only)
1. Pound, blend ingredients above. Stir-fry with 2 stalks of curry leaves and 3 pieces of limau purut. Set aside.
2. Steam fish for 10 mins.
3. Remove fish and place fish in pot with (1). Add water and cubes of pineapple. Add chopped vegetables (lady’s finger, tomato, long beans). Bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins.