Halibut with mustard seeds, curry leaves and tomatoes

Halibut with mustard seeds, curry leaves and tomatoes

By
From
Spring
Serves
5
Photographer
Andy Sewell

This beautiful dish presents crisp-skinned, fresh white fish in a light and aromatic broth. It is important to use whole spices here, as their flavour is cleaner, lighter and zingier than ground spices. The tamarind adds a delicate sourness and fresh curry leaves lend an incomparable citrusy and delicately aromatic flavour. Both tamarind and curry leaves are available from Asian food stores and some supermarkets.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg wild halibut fillet (with skin), cut into 200g portions
a knob unsalted butter
sea salt

For the aromatic broth

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
5 cardamom pods, seeds extracted
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon ghee
2 small yellow onions, peeled and finely sliced
2.5cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced into matchsticks
15 fresh curry leaves
1-2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons tamarind water, (see note)
200g ripe, flavourful tomatoes

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
lime wedges

Method

  1. For the aromatic broth, place a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the mustard, cardamom and fennel seeds and toast gently, stirring, for a minute or until they begin to jump from the base of the pan. Turn down the heat slightly and add the ghee (or butter), onions, ginger and a little salt. Cook gently for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the curry leaves, sliced chillies and tamarind water and cook for minutes. Now add the tomatoes and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. To cook the fish, place a large non-stick ovenproof pan over a high heat, then add the butter. Season the fish generously with salt on the skin side only. When the butter is melted and sizzling, lay the fish, skin side down, in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes until the skin is golden. Without turning the fish, transfer the pan to the middle shelf of the oven and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until the fish is just cooked.
  3. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning – it may need a little more salt. Spoon the broth into warm bowls and lay the fish fillets on top. Scatter the curry leaves and sliced chilli to taste over the dish and serve with lime wedges. I really enjoy eating this dish accompanied by steamed Asian greens or spinach and a little bowl of steamed jasmine rice.

Note

  • To make tamarind water, soak pieces of tamarind pod in hot water to cover for 15–20 minutes, then strain. The water will have taken on the tamarind flavour.
Tags:
Skye Gyngell
seasonal
Spring
London
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