Rockling or blue-eye trevella fillets work well in this spicy dish. There are some less common ingredients in this, but they make a huge difference to the end result. Fresh turmeric has an incomparable, earthy, almost indescribable flavour, and it adds stunning depth and colour to a curry – just be careful, as it will stain your hands, clothes and even porous benchtops. Fresh curry leaves are another of my favourite ingredients. They are highly aromatic with a spicy, smoky fragrance that is genuinely unique.
8-10cm fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (available at good Asian grocers)
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1kg rockling cutlets (cut through the bone) or blue-eye trevalla fillets*
150g natural yoghurt
80ml grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
2 brown onions, finely sliced
1 celery heart, finely sliced
100g fresh ginger, peeled and finely julienned
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 handful celery leaves
2 sprigs fresh (not dry) curry leaves (also available at good Asian grocers)
2 handfuls green and/or yellow beans, sliced
steamed rice, to serve
* Cooking fish on the bone makes such a difference, helping to keep the flesh succulent and delicious. You may have to pre-order it from your fishmonger, but it's well worth it – no extra work, just a little planning.
1. Combine the turmeric, spices, salt and about 10 grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Add the fish and toss through to coat. Add the yoghurt and toss through until combined and coated. Set aside for 20 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery heart, ginger and garlic and cook until just turning golden, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the fish and any residual yoghurt to the pan with the tomatoes, celery leaves, curry leaves and one cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes.
4. To serve, squeeze over the lime and serve with rice on the side.
1. Blue-eye trevalla fillets would be a good substitute for rockling.
2. Don't be tempted to add more liquid to this, as it will just dilute the intensity of the spices.
3. Dried turmeric will work just fine, but it is really worth seeking out the fresh stuff.