Cur­ries don’t have to be la­bo­ri­ous af­fairs. If you’re feel­ing lazy (or just short on time) this swift standby can be knocked up in min­utes.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD, SAM MANNERING -

I’m feel­ing a bit In­dia-ob­sessed at the mo­ment as I’m about to start tak­ing food tours up there. I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing I can to get my­self into the mind­set. It’s no slim feat try­ing to get one’s head around an 8000-yearold cui­sine. What I’m cease­lessly as­ton­ished about is the diver­sity; the range and com­plex­ity of in­gre­di­ents and dishes that make up such a bustling, as­sertive food cul­ture. What is equally in­ter­est­ing is of­ten how sim­ple it can be to put punchy dishes to­gether; we seem to have it in our heads that cre­at­ing a spice mix or a curry paste is worse than la­bo­ri­ous. Not so. I won’t lie; I can be as lazy as the next per­son when it comes to cook­ing. We all some­times have a bit of a mo­ment around 5pm when we won­der why the hell we in­vited friends around for din­ner af­ter all, when all you want to do is col­lapse and get take­aways. This is one of those saviour dishes for such an oc­ca­sion. I usu­ally have a bag of frozen prawns in the freezer to use in lieu of fresh fish – or you could very eas­ily use diced chicken thigh, if you fancy.


Prep time: 15 min­utes Cook time: 20 min­utes Serves: 4-6

700g fresh fish fil­lets such as snap­per, tarak­ihi, gurnard, trevally or king­fish

2 tsp turmeric

Sea salt and black pep­per Light oil

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground co­rian­der

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 large red onion, finely sliced

4 large toma­toes, quar­tered

1 tin co­conut milk

Chilli pow­der, to taste

Large hand­ful of broc­col­ini or broc­coli Hand­ful of co­rian­der, to serve

Deep fried shal­lots, to serve

Slice the fish into chunks and com­bine in a bowl with the turmeric and a gen­er­ous sea­son­ing of salt and pep­per.

Set a large pan over a medium-high heat, add about 3 ta­ble­spoons of oil and let it heat up. Add the cumin, co­rian­der and cumin seeds and fry gen­tly for about a minute, stir­ring, un­til fra­grant. Take care not to let them burn. Add the onion and con­tinue to fry for sev­eral more min­utes un­til the onion starts to soften. If the spices are look­ing like they’re in dan­ger of burn­ing, add a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter. Add the toma­toes and fry for a minute or so be­fore adding the co­conut milk. Add enough chilli pow­der to taste. Let it bub­ble up and re­duce down a lit­tle, then stir in the fish. Leave to bub­ble away for about five min­utes un­til the fish is just cooked, and then fold in the broc­col­ini.

Taste, sea­son and serve im­me­di­ately with the co­rian­der and deep fried shal­lots scat­tered over the top, with steamed basmati or brown rice and naan on the side.

Styling and pho­tos: Sam Man­ner­ing

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