We were served this Burmese fish curry at a local roadside restaurant on the way to the Shan state. I love it when we stumble upon such a find. The tomato sauce with tender pieces of fish and fresh coriander made the lengthy car journey worthwhile. When we came back to Rangoon, I asked my cousin if she knew how to cook the fish curry. We spent a wonderful morning cooking, eating and photographing the dish.
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 firm white fish fillets
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves
3 whole dried chillies, soaked in hot water
6 tablespoons peanut oil
½ teaspoon paprika
5 ripe tomatoes, blanched in hot water, peeled and chopped
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Mix the turmeric and fish sauce in a bowl. Coat the fish with the marinade, cover and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the onion, garlic and chillies to form a coarse paste or chop everything finely. Heat the oil in a saucepan and caramelise the onion paste over a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn as this will make the sauce bitter.
Mix in the paprika and stir until fragrant before adding the tomatoes. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes until it has reduced to a thick sauce. Drop in the fish including any marinade and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Carefully turn the fish and cook a further 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (cooking time will vary according to the thickness of the fish).
Before serving, taste and add a splash more fish sauce if necessary. Sprinkle chopped coriander and serve with plenty of basmati rice.
cooking time: 55-60 mins