Chef Paul Carmichael is best known for his refined eclectic Caribbean-Australian dishes at Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney's outpost of David Chang's restaurant empire.
His Barbadian roots were evident at the cooking class he gave yesterday at the Sydney Seafood School, as was his delightful personality. Apart from this hefty fish curry, there were Spiced Potatoes with Yogurt Dressing, rich, buttery old-fashioned Clams Casino, and a Cucumber Lime Pickle.
"I love the act of cooking," he told us. "It makes me feel good. I just feel physically like doing it. It makes me feel loved".
Make sure to prepare the Curry Base ahead - or freeze it for future use.
- Prep Time : 40 minutes
- Cook Time : 60 minutes
- Yield : 6
- Murray Cod (or any other firm white-flesh fish) - 1 x2 kg, scaled, gilled and gutted
- ground turmeric - 2 teaspoons
- cayenne pepper - 1 teaspoon
- salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- vegetable oil - for pan-frying
- brown onion - 1, thinly sliced
- fresh ginger - 1 x 5cm piece, grated
- garlic - 2 cloves, grated
- fresh bay leaf - 1
- habanero chilli - 1, seeded and diced
- ground cumin - 1 tablespoon
- ground coriander - 2 teaspoons
- curry powder - 1 teaspoon
- tomato paste - 1/3 cup
- Curry Base
- vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
- brown onions - 3 large, finely sliced
- red capsicum - 1/4, diced
- carrot - 1, peeled and diced
- fresh ginger - 1 x 2.5cm piece, grated
- garlic - 3 cloves, grated
- ground cumin - 1 teaspoon
- ground coriander - 1 teaspoon
- ground fenugreek seeds - 1 teaspoon
- hot smoked paprika - 1 teaspoon (La Dalia Pimenton de la Vera)
- ripe tomatoes - 2, finely chopped
- unsalted butter - 4 tablespoons
- ground turmeric - 1 teaspoon
- salt flakes and fresh ground black pepper - to taste
- water - about 1/2 cup
- To serve
- fresh lime juice - 2 limes, juice of
- lime wedges
- coriander leaves and tender stems - chopped, for garnish
- Cucumber Lime Pickle
- fresh lime juice - 1 cup, strained
- water - 1/2 cup, strained and warmed
- caster sugar - 1/4 cup
- salt flakes - 1 tablespoon
- small red onion - 1, finely sliced and rinsed in iced water
- Lebanese cucumbers, skin on - 4, washed, and finely sliced
For the Curry Base: heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add onions, capsicum and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned and soft.
Stir in ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, fenugreek and paprika.
Add tomato and just enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt butter in a saucepan until it begins to foam. Add turmeric and cook for a minute or so until it slightly darkens - be careful not to let it brown.
Stir butter mixture into the sauce, return sauce to the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes or so, removing from heat if it starts to catch.
Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
For the fish: wipe fish with paper towels. Remove head and cut body into 2.5cm thick steaks. Combine turmeric, cayenne and 2 teaspoons salt and sprinkle over fish steaks.
Add enough oil to a large frying pan to fill it 5mm deep. Heat over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add fish steaks and cook until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spatula or tongs, carefully transfer fish to a paper-lined plate and set aside.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from frying pan. Add onion and cook until browned, about 5 minutes - reduce heat if it threatens to burn.
Reduce heat a little, add ginger, garlic bay leaf, habanero, cumin, coriander and curry powder, cooking until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add Curry Base, lime juice. salt and pepper and a little water. Nestle fish steaks into the curry, gently coating with the sauce. Cook gently for 5 -10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives or coriander. Serve with steamed rice and Cucumber Lime Pickle.
To make the pickle: combine lime juice, water, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add cucumber and onion slices and combine well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.