Serves: 2-3 - Time:
You could use another firm white fish such as hake or cod but monkish has the perfect “meatiness” for a dish like this. If you don’t like handling fish get your fishmonger to prepare the fish, removing the sinewy outer layer which can get chewy when cooked. I have kept the curry fairly mild but if you like a curry to pack a punch add a few more dried chillies.
- For the spice blend
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2.5cm piece cinnamon
- 2 dried chillies
- For the curry
- 2 aubergines, cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3cm piece root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 400ml tin coconut milk
- 400g boneless monkfish fillet, trimmed and cut into 3cm chunks
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
- For the spice blend, put everything except the dried chillies in a small frying pan and toast over a moderate heat for about 2 minutes until the spices smell fragrant. Tip into a coffee grinder along with the dried chillies and blends to a fine powder. Set aside.
- Put the aubergines in a colander and sprinkle with 2-3 pinches Maldon salt. Leave to drain for 30 minutes then pat dry with absorbent paper.
- Put the onions, garlic, and ginger into a liquidiser with 4 tablespoons water and blend to a smooth paste. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a sauté pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger paste. Stir over a low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Add the aubergines, turn the heat up slightly and cook, stirring for 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in all but 1 scant tablespoon of the spice mix and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato purée, coconut milk and 150ml water. Season well with salt and ground black pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the aubergines are soft but not collapsing.
- Toss the monkfish cubes in the reserved spice mix and add to the curry. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the fish is firm and just cooked through. Taste and season again if necessary. Sprinkle with coriander just before serving.