“Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour” .
Sounds like these famous words were meant to describe the amazing variety that one simple little word “curry” has to offer! The difference in flavours and ingredients is huge from the rustic Karahi to refined Korma, from the robust Vindaloo to ravishing Rogan Josh. There really is nothing simple about curry, it’s not even a word used in the Indian subcontinent for the spicy, saucy dishes all known in the western world as “curry”.
Each curry has a unique blend of spices, then there are further regional variations influenced by geographical and historic factors. One such interesting variation is the Sri Lankan Devilled Fish curry recipe – a delicious fusion of Portuguese and Dutch flavours with local ingredients. This very quick, simple and colourful stir fry dish is made popularly with tuna fish and served both as main course and side dish. It’s basically fish cubes, stir fried with lots of vegetables (a mix of crunchy and juicy) and sweet n sour sauces.
The word ‘Devilled’ in food dictionaries means to combine food with hot and spicy seasonings and sauces. From the Devilled eggs of Roman origin to the Devilled kidneys, a popular Victorian British breakfast, there are many examples of such highly seasoned foods in the world cuisine. This Devilled Fish Curry recipe seems to have acquired the name for the same reason, it can be made hotter than hell with combination of various chilli peppers but also toned down to enjoyable deliciousness to suit your taste buds.
I usually don’t make it with tuna because that’s not an easily available fish in Lahore. Instead I use any firm fleshed fish that won’t crumble or flake away in stir frying. I think if cooked with reduced salt and oil, it makes an excellent, healthy and filling meal even for weight watchers. For a family dinner simply serve it with plain rice and lentils on the side.
500 g fish, bones removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, chopped
2 medium onions
2 green bell peppers
2 green chilli peppers
4 dry red chilli peppers
1 stalk leek or spring onions
a handful curry, basil or lemon leaves
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
This Is What You Do:
Cut fish pieces into cubes.
Marinate fish with lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli flakes for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. Cut onions and bell peppers into cubes.
Chop the chilli peppers, leeks/spring onions and cut tomatoes into wedges.
Keep the sauces and vinegar handy.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok on medium high heat. Fry fish cubes for a couple of minutes or till golden on the outside. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add 1 more tablespoon oil to the pan. Add ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Stir fry a few seconds or till aromatic.
Add onions, stir fry for 2 minutes or till they change colour slightly.
Add bell peppers and chilli peppers.
Add tomatoes, leeks and fish cubes.
Add all the sauces and vinegar.
Toss to coat everything with the sauces.
Turn off heat. Serve hot with plain rice for main course or on it’s own as a light meal.