Malaysian Style Fish Head Curry
Some handy tips before you start cooking this.
- Ask your fishmonger to scale your fish head properly. Trust me, it's not pleasant having fish scales in the curry while you're eating.
- Don't overcook the okra. 10-15 minutes is fine.
- Don't let the coconut boil in the curry for too long, otherwise it will start to split.
- Don't overcook the fish either.
- Cook plenty of white rice as you will need it.
Let's Start Cook
- 1 kg fish head (ikan Merah always my choice), cleaned and scaled
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 stalks lemongrass, lightly bruised
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 1/4 cup (300ml) coconut milk ( Kara Brand )
- 10 tofu puffs (any Brand)
- 2-3 tomatoes, quartered
- 10 okra
- Coriander leaves for garnish
- 120g (4oz) shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 inch galangal
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 candlenuts
- 1/2 tbsp toasted belacan (additional)
- 3 tbsp chilli paste (dried chillies that have been soaked until softened, and finely blended)
Curry powder (mixed with 4 tbsp water to form a paste):
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chicken/ikan bilis stock powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1-2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Rub some salt over the fish head and set aside for 1/2 hour before rinsing it off. Ensure there is no blood left on the fish as it may cause bitterness in the curry.
- Heat up 4 tbsp oil in a large Dessini pot. Fry the blended ingredients (shallots, garlic etc) for 3-5 minutes.
- Add curry powder mixture continue frying for 2 minutes until the chilli oil starts to release into the pan.
- Add the lemongrass.
- Add water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1/2 hour.
- Add seasoning and coconut milk. Once it starts to simmer, quickly add the tofu puffs and okra. Simmer for 5 minutes before adding tomatoes and the fish. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the fish is cooked.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for 3 minutes so that the oil rises to the top. Dish out
- Immediately, garnish with coriander and serve hot with steamed white rice.