Traybaked Keralan-Style Fish Curry

This ridiculously fragrant dish will take your New Year’s Eve in an unexpected direction.

Creamy, rich and packed with spices, this traybake is fresh, flavoursome and super-comforting. Simply whack it in the middle of the table and let your guests help themselves, and serve with clove-spiked rice, warm chapatis and poppadoms on the side for a really epic meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 fresh red chillies, deseeded
  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded
  • Sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 x 1.5 kg side of salmon, scaled and pin-boned, skin on
  • 1 handful of curry leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 300 g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 28 peeled tiger prawns
  • 2 x 400 mL tins light coconut milk
  • 4 lemons

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Peel and finely slice the onions, garlic and ginger. Finely slice the chillies and coriander stalks, then slice the peppers. Place your largest roasting tray on the hob over a medium heat and add a good splash of sunflower oil, the spices and curry leaves. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the chopped veg, garlic and coriander stalks. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft and golden, stirring occasionally.

Place the salmon into the tray, skin side down. Season and drizzle with olive oil, then carefully turn the salmon skin side up and place the tray in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the salmon is almost cooked through. Meanwhile, quarter the tomatoes and butterfly the prawns by carefully running a sharp knife down the back of each one and flattening them out.

Remove the tray from the oven and preheat the grill to full whack. Stir the tomatoes, prawns, coconut milk and the zest and juice from 1 lemon into the tray, then place under the grill for 5 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through and the salmon skin is lovely and crisp — the skin can turn quickly so keep a close eye on it. 

When done, carefully remove the crispy skin, then use a large spoon to break the salmon into big chunks. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, then snap up and scatter over the crispy salmon skin, sprinkle with the reserved coriander leaves and serve with lots of lemon wedges for squeezing over.

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