My Destination Singapore Kitchen - Fish Head Curry
With My Destination Singapore Kitchen, learn to cook your favourite food of Singapore with a video!
Myriam Ohlig for My Guide Singapore
If you are looking for a mouthwatering dinner recipe to impress your 'special someone' or indeed, your guests, then look no further! With My Guide Singapore Kitchen, learn to cook your favourite food of Singapore, the easy way.
- 1 large fish head of garoupa or red snapper (Ikan Merah), properly cleaned and scaled
- 1 stalk curry leaves
- 3 pieces of young ginger (minced)
- 1/2 cup peeled garlic (minced)
- 1/2 cup peeled shallots (minced)
- 3 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 tbsp fish curry powder
- 2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 4 small red chillies (seeded & sliced)
- 6 okra or ladyfinger (cut into bite size )
- 4 ripened tomatoes (cut into quarters)
- 2 cups white cabbage
- 2 to 3 eggplants (sliced)
- 200ml coconut milk
- 100g pineapple cut into chunks
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup tamarind water (mix the tamarind paste with some boiling water) or lime juice
- 1 large lime
- Sugar and salt to taste
The preparation of the fish requires you to steam the fish head, to cook the gravy then incorporate the fish into the gravy.
- Fill the bottom part of a wok with some water and bring it to the boil. Place the fish on a porcelain plate or bamboo steamer over a footed-cooling rack, then cover and steam for 12 to 15 minutes depending of the size of the head. Use a chopstick to check on the fish head. Pop it into one of its thickest points. If it goes in easily, your fish head is cooked. Switch off the heat.
- While the fish is being steamed, heat some oil in another wok over low heat. When your pan is hot enough, fry the shallots continuously to prevent them from sticking to the wok. Stir for about 1 minute until lightly golden brown or until there's a nice flavour that comes out. Add the garlic. Keep on stirring for about 2 minutes then add the ginger. Fry all your shallots, ginger and garlic well to obtain a sweet and fragrant mixture then mix in the turmeric powder then the fish curry powder until dry. Mix for 3 to 5 minutes at low heat to get rid of the nasty bitter taste of the curry and bring out all the sweetness and fragrance of the curry powder.
- Add the lemon grass and red chili then smash the curry leaves over the mixture to exude its rich aroma. Pour in some water, cover and bring it to the boil. Let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Incorporate the remaining ingredients: white cabbage, lady fingers, tomatoes, sliced eggplants, pineapple, tamarind water, the juice of a large lime and some water to cook the vegetables partially. Pour in the coconut cream and bring to simmering point, stirring it all time. Allow it to cook for a few more minutes until well amalgamated.
- Place the fish into the gravy without its own juice to cut into the fishy taste. With a tablespoon, lightly pour the gravy over the fish head. Add some sugar and salt then simmer gently or until the okras are half cooked. Cover and let it boil. Turn the fish head over and continue simmering for 1 to 3 minutes until done. Taste and adjust salt to taste.
The Fish Head Curry is now ready to be shared among your guests! Transfer the fish head immediately in a serving plate over the vegetables and gravy. Serve with some rice or soft buns like locals do.
This recipe is so rich in flavour that after eating it you will feel its delightful aromas lingering on the palate for hours. And if you’re wondering why on earth you would prefer to eat the head of a fish instead of its fleshier parts, it is because Chinese believe the meat next to the bone to be the tenderest and most flavourful while the cheeks and eyes of the fish (which are excellent for your skin ladies!) are considered the best parts of all.
So what are you waiting for? Put your apron on and let's get cooking!