March 15, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 3:28 pm

This will be my entry for this week’s weekend herb blogging, so I imagine a lot of you coming through from our lovely host’s site may want to see the photo …..

Goan fish curry 

and skip to the end for the recipe. :)

Some others among you may notice something a bit odd about that picture. I’m sure you know that food bloggers generally take great care with their photography.  Hell, Amanda and Tyler even have their own photo tent with special lighting! Whilst I haven’t got that much equipment (yet), I still do my best for the blog. So why then do I have a fairly scruffy photo with my mobile phone, Goon’s course notes and several other pieces of rubbish in the background for this dish?

It’s all down to one of Goon’s flatmate.  Once upon a time, when I was a sprightly second year student, I thought there was no way I’d ever want to live on my own. My flatmates were great, I adored spending time with them and arguments were rare. How things have changed! Spending time at Goon’s in the presence of his cohabitants is starting to turn me into a bit of a misanthropic cow.

Let’s face it,when you’re a foodie, it is damn hard sharing a kitchen with people who think a good meal (as in one they would cook for a formal dinner party) is Tesco value tuna, tomato sauce and pasta.

Then we have the case of disappearing food. It appears the irritating squeamish one has another bad habit: throwing out food that looks even remotely unfamilar or has any kind of aroma. We have lost a dragonfruit “because it looked funny” and the best part of a pheasant “because it smelt funny” and a fresh pack of smoked salmon “because it smelt of fish.”

What the hell did she think salmon should smell like!? Rose petals?

A more pressing irritation is that, recently, one flatmate has taken to having Bible parties in the front room. Yes, you read it correctly. BIBLE parties. This means that the room has to be immaculate and we certainly can’t eat in there, which is a right pain because that is where the dining table is. Goon and I are forced to eat in his rather cramped bedroom on the very full computer table. 

It is annoying to be kicked out of the dining room when setting the table, but the conversations going on between this lot are plain disturbing. This lot have a book that lists all the words in the Bible alphabetically and gives page references for each. They LOVE that thing.

“Oooh, look it says the word ‘and’ appears 5,907 times in the Bible.”
“Really? I wonder whether these numbers have any significance.”
“How many times does the work ’the’ appear?”


I hate eating diiner in the bedroom. Rice gets on the floor and the lack of space means it is so much harder to photograph in there and we end up with clutter in the background. Also, Goon has a habit of hiding the plates under the bed so he can avoid the washing up. For days you wonder what the funny smell is, and then a couple of weeks later you find the plates, by then fully concious and with their own legs, making a daring escape out of the bedroom window.

Ok, maybe I made the last bit up, but they do end up covered in an interesting range of several species of mould. Goon’s bedroom is a mycologist’s dream.

Now that I’ve had my rant and explained the reason for the dodgy photo, here’s the interesting bit: a rough recipe for the Goan fish curry. This will work for most fish, although I prefer to use something white and flakey, like cod or haddock. This dish is easy to make and really tasty.

Take a large onion, peel it and slice it into  thin half-rings. Fry it gently in groundnut oil with a lot (about 1 tablespoon each) of coriander and cumin, a large clove of crushed garlic and about the same amount of ginger, two chopped red birds eye chillies, a teaspoon of cayenne, two teaspoons of paprika and a teaspoon of turmeric. When the onions are soft, add about 100ml of fish stock and about 150ml of coconut milk, and allow the lot to bubble until you have a slightly thin curry sauce.

At this point I add the ingredient that really makes a goan curry: tamarind. I generally use tamarind paste which I get from Asian speciality stores. I find the trick to using tamarind paste is to dilute it with a little bit of water and then add it slowly to the dish , tasting every so often to make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Tamarind is one of those things that can make a dish delicious but, a little too much makes it sour and, to some people, unpalatable, so it pays to be careful.   

After adding your desired amount of tamarind, add the fish fillets to the sauce and simmer for amout ten minutes until they are cooked. Then taste, adjust spice and seasoning and serve over basmati rice (perhaps flavoured with ginger and spring oniions) with a vegetable curry. Last night we had beans with coriander and garlic, cooked in coconut milk.

This is a really delicious dish. The tamarind provides a pleasant sour pungency that is followed by a slight sweetness from the coconut milk and a warmth from the spice. Personally I might add another chilli, but Goon gets funny about these things. 

It is the tamarind in this dish that makes it suitable to be an entry to Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging which this week is hosted by Becky from Key Lime and Coconut.

For those of you unfamiliar with tamarind, the spice is the fruit pulp of a tree native to East Africa. It now is found all over Asia and South America as well. The young fruits of this tree have the sour flavour that makes a Goan curry so special. As the fruits get older they become sweeter and then are more suitable for use in desserts.

Ifyou may think you’ve never had tamarind, you may be suprised. It is one of the main ingredients in Worcestershire sauce! 

So there we go- a rant, a recipe and a brief collection of facts on a very tasty spice. Never let it be said that this blog lacks variety. ;)  


  1. Do you think maybe the whiny irritating one is doing it…. to piss you off?!! Surely someone can’t be that stoopid!

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — March 15, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

  2. D’ya reckon the really irritating whiny housemate is doing it intentionally….. to piss you off?!!! No one’s that stoopid, surely?!

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — March 15, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  3. Who’s stoopid now?! *sigh*

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — March 15, 2007 @ 6:23 pm

  4. I always think I don’t like tamarind, so I was really interested to read that it’s in Worcester sauce, because I like that! So I’ll have to try this … your recipes are backing up, because I’m REALLY keen to try the rosebuds, only my family will laugh at me about a) eating flowers, and b) that the flowers are pink …


    Comment by Joanna — March 15, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  5. Hi Schmoof, was the comment box playing up? I have been wondering since I’ve not got much spam today ( for a pleasant change.) I did suspect she was doing it deliberately although she is also pretty dumb. Remember this post?
    Also her mother apparently has a bit of a cleaning OCD so it probably wore off on her a bit. I really don’t know. Anyway, if it happens again, there will be a lot of trouble (from Goon, not me). It’s generally best not to throw away someone’s lunch when they’re the one who pays the flat’s rent and bills.

    Hi Joanna, My recipes are backing up for me too! There are two that I really want to post this week but I’m thinking I won’t get time. AARGH! THESIS!
    What’s there to laugh at? Pink flowers are great!

    Comment by ros — March 15, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  6. Hi Ros,

    I remember student-life and pestilential housemates! Good luck.

    The curry looks really delicious, though. And I do like tamarind!

    Comment by Kathryn — March 15, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

  7. Don’t let them get you down. You’re not mad, just eccentric too young. I’ll cook food with tamarind with you any day. And when it comes to the photo tent - I’d rather have Hannah’s taste buds than Ben’s artistry.

    Comment by Trig — March 16, 2007 @ 12:06 am

  8. Arragh, your blog’s making me hungry!

    –T.J., dumb yank in Las Vegas who can’t cook to save his own life. :/

    Comment by T.J. Swoboda — March 16, 2007 @ 12:21 am

  9. Hi Ros, Personally I don’t think that you’re the eccentric one!! Between you and me, those bible people can be a little, shall we say, testing. I’ve been planning to make Peter Gordons Tamarind Ice Cream so now I have an extra recipe to use up the excess tamarind with!

    Comment by Freya — March 16, 2007 @ 8:02 am

  10. oh Ros. It’s really unfair for you to post such yummy looking things. HOW on earth am I supposed to focus at work wehn there are all these yummy pictures.


    Comment by Lauren — March 16, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

  11. Hi Kathryn, you know I never had any pestilential housemates until last year! Then one of the four turned out to be horrendous and now this year Goon has two and a half out of three (the Bible party girl is nice really, just a bit Bible obsessed so she only counts as a half). I say it is his won fault for moving inwith two people he didn’t know! MY OWN flatmates are lovely - it’s a shame our kitchen is a bit less useable than Goon’s.

    Hi Trig. You wrote that comment just after coming back from the pub didn’t you?;) Who the hell are Hannah and Ben? :razz:

    Hi TJ, I’m sure everyone can cook really. It’s just a matter of having time to practice and finding good ingredients to work with. However, I know both of those are much easier said than done. You could always try Goon’s trick of looking sad, lonely and hungry until some gullible and good natured woman offers to cook you dinner. ;)

    Hi Freya. Sure, we’ll keep it between you, me and everyone else reading these comments. ;) Tamarind ice-cream sounds so exciting! I look forward to reading about it when it is done.

    Hi Lauren. Well… I can block your work IP from the site if you REALLY want… but then I’d miss your comments.

    Comment by ros — March 18, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  12. I love tamarind, so I’m sure I’d love this.

    Comment by Kalyn — March 19, 2007 @ 3:42 am

  13. LOL!! I love this post! You sound like you would be a great roommate, but it should be with people who appreciate your fabulous cooking. The picture looks fabulous, too.

    I will be thinking about this post for some time–it put a big smile on my face.

    Comment by sher — March 19, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  14. OOOOH ROS!

    My mom just bought some of those tamarind beany things.It is very exciting, BUT I DON”T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM BUT THEY ARE SITTING ON MY COUNTER!!!



    Comment by Lauren — April 20, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

  15. email me!

    Comment by Lauren — April 20, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

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