Fish Curry - Samak Quwarmah - Recipe by Atul Kochhar

August 07, 2018

Fish Curry - Samak Quwarmah - Recipe by Atul Kochhar

This Middle Eastern korma differs from those we know in the UK in that the base is made of tomatoes instead of cream or coconut milk, and the addition of baharat adds warmth and sweetness. When I am out and about at festivals and markets people will often use the korma dish as an explanation of their own heat tolerance, however the truth of the matter is that kormas can actually be mildly spiced or very heavily spiced. The word 'korma' actually refers to the cooking technique - to braise.

Anyways, lets get to the recipe, which is really rather good. 

Ingredients - Serves 4 
4 sea bream fillets
4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp baharat
1 tsp ground turmeric
2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick
200g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 loomi (dried limes) or thinly pared rind of 1 lemon
100ml fish stock or water
Rose petals to garnish - optional 


Season the fish with salt and leave it, covered, in the fridge until required.

Heat 2 tbsp of the ghee or vegetable oil in a pan and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, red chilli powder, baharat, turmeric and cinnamon and sauté for two to three minutes. Add the tomatoes, loomi or lemon rind, and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for five minutes or until the tomatoes melt in the sauce.

Slash the fish skin a few times with a sharp knife. Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot, then add the remaining ghee or oil. Place the fillets in the pan, skin-side down, and sear for two minutes, or until the skin is crisp, then flip over and fry on the other side for about a minute, or until cooked through.

To serve, remove the loomi or strips of lemon rind from the sauce and spoon the sauce into serving plates. Add a bed of rice or salad to the middle and place the fish on top. An optional garnish of rose petals finishes the dish attractively. Serve immediately.


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