Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spicy Fish Head Stew

For squeamish readers, please look away. Fish head is my favorite part of the fish to eat and I admit I can be pretty bizarre in my choice of food! In Asia and especially at banquet dinners or restaurants, it is not unusual to see a plate of chicken, duck, fish or even suckling pig served with their heads sitting on the plate. I rather not have the others present but a fish served without a fish head is simply a joke to me.

I normally get salmon head in the Asian groceries and sometimes in my local grocery too! It is very meaty and I always ask that the head be cut divided and cleaned as it is impossible for me to do it in my own kitchen and frankly speaking, I don't like doing it! I used to cook it with tamarind and lots of ginger to get rid of the fishy smell but it seems that Curry is not a very big fan of tamarind and its tartness.

Perhaps I am inspired by those kimchi stew that I always see in Korean dramas, on how the actors slurp from their earthen pot, piping hot and spicy and their satisfied looks with their puffing and panting, I wanted to make something similar too. It was raining the whole day and I was going to cook something hot and spicy to warm my soul and appetite. And I am sure Curry will be very happy too!

For this dish, I used only chilli powder with lime juice to create the stew soup. I think Thai style fish head dish would have included fresh chillis and also dried chillis with tamarind but I was ready to create something more similar to the Korean Kimchi stew version, where the soup base is more of a light broth consistency rather than sauce or gravy like and with a brazen red color, signalling spiciness awaiting to burn your lips! And this dish must be served piping hot with rice or else the effect of the spiciness is not that good.

Ingredients :

1 Salmon Fish head (around 1.5lbs)
1/4 cut of a radish (appx 10oz)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 knob of ginger, sliced
2 small red shallots, sliced
4 stalks of scallion, white part sliced & green part, cut thinly and diagonally
2 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 lime

  1. Cut the radish thinly into sticks.

  2. Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a saute pan. Add in the ginger, garlic, white part of scallion and shallot. Saute for 30 seconds. Add in the salmon head and stir to blend in . Let sit for 2 mins on medium heat and turn the salmon head around.

  3. Sprinkle in the chilli powder. Add in the lime juice. Sprinkle in the sugar and stir to blend. Add in water and half of the radish sticks. Close lid and let simmer on low fire for 15 to 20 minutes, till the fish eyes are opaque. Stir in some salt.

  4. Garnish with the sliced scallion and remaining radish sticks. Serve hot.

Serves : 2 persons

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