Fish Curry, Delicious, But Not for The Faint Hearted

The busy hour in Dar es Salaam streets.

Cars, daladala busses, bajajes, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians all rush past. Each intent on reaching their destination. In the midst of this, right next to the road we find him … the fish man. Here he has set up his small table displaying the catch of the day.  He quickly agrees to clean our enormous red snapper bought at the local fish market earlier so that we can make Lotus’s famous fish curry for supper.

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Without further ado he takes out his sharp and probably not so clean knife and right there on the side of the busy road starts cleaning the fish on an old piece of wood.

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F4We watch, fascinated by the skill and ease with which he cleans and fillets the fish while busy traffic and pedestrians pass us without even a glance.

F 3Some of us stand far away and vow not to eat tonight. Others know once the fish is cooked and curried using Lotus’s famous recipe they will not be able to resist.

After paying him 5000 Tzs, about 25 ZAR or 2 USD, we leave the fish man hoping he would sell his fish as it is his only means of income. As we head home to cook supper I think about the many informal businesses in this amazing country. No beggars are seen on the streets, but everywhere people use the skills they have to generate an income.

Later that night all agree the fish curry was the best they have ever had. (Even those faint hearted ones  who stood far away during the cleaning process)

Here is the recipe for you to try.

Lotus’s Goan Fish Curry

Any firm white fish  ( about 1 kg) cut into cubes

3 to 4 red onions finely chopped

1 clove of garlic  grated or crushed

fresh ginger peeled and grated ( about  3 tablespoons )

5 ml turmeric

5 ml masala or curry powder

5 ml paprika

chillies to taste

80 ml lemon juice

1 tin of  tomato puree

1 tin coconut cream

salt to taste, olive oil for marinating and frying

Marinate  the fish in half of the garlic, ginger and olive oil.                                   Heat the rest of the olive oil in a pan.  Fry the onions, garlic and ginger until brown. Add the spices, turmeric, masala or curry powder, paprika. Add chillies if you want the curry to be hot.

Brown the fish in the onion and spice mix. Add the tomato puree, lemon juice and coconut milk last. Salt to taste and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes, Do not stir often as the fish will flake.

Serve on a bed of Basmati rice.