Enjoy Fish Head Curry in Chhada Khai
1 large fish head (1.5 kg/3.5 lbs) cleaned
4 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
3-4 sprigs curry leaves
4 cups (1 litre) thin coconut milk
1/2 cup (123 ml) tamarind juice
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in wedges
15-20 dried red chillies, cut into short lengths and soaked in hot water
8-10 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 inch (4cm) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon fennel powder
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, ground
1. thoroughly wash the fish head, remove any scales and season on both sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt, then set aside in the refrigerator while preparing the other ingredients.
2. Grind all the Chilli Paste ingredients to a smooth paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the mixture turning. Set aside.
3. Combine the Spice Mixture ingredients and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large pot or wok and stir-fry the mustard seeks and curry leaves until the seeds start to pop. Add the Chilli paste and stir-fry over medium heat to low heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the Spice Mixture and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, stirring to mix with the paste and spices. Add the tamarind juice, sugar, onions and the rest of the salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
5. Rinse the fish head thoroughly under cold running water. Add the fish head, tomatoes and okra to the pan and simmer, uncovered, until the fish is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.