Fish Head Curry

Singapore has many iconic dishes. Some on the list our neighbour up north like to contend that it is theirs. However, like the Chilli Crab which is uniquely Singaporean, the Fish Head Curry too is as Singaporean as can be! I’m proud of our heritage dishes, so allow me to bring everyone on a little gastronomical history.

Back in the days when police wore khaki shorts, in a little restaurant called Gomez Curry along Sophia Road, Mr. M. J. Gomez first created and sold this iconic dish in 1949. Just in case you were wondering who he is… Here is a picture.

He sold the dish despite the fact that the head of the fish was not particularly an Indian delicacy, just to please his Chinese customers. Talk about racial harmony! This man got it down right. Anyway, it wasn’t just his Chinese customers who loved it, everyone despite race or religion loved it so much that various versions of the dish was created and it became an iconic Singapore dish today!

The various versions of the dish came about first in 1951 by Chinese Chef Hoong Ah Kong, who modified this Indian recipe at his first restaurant, Chin Wah Heng. His version was made with a moderation of spices and by steaming the fish head first. Very much like how we are going to do it in the recipe below.

Then in 1969, one of the best and revered name in Singapore’s food scene, Muthu’s Curry, began its own legacy selling Mr. Ayyakkannu’s version of The Fish HEad Curry in South Indian Style. You can read more about it here.

Today, Fish Head Curry can be found on the menu of Indian, Chinese, Malay and Peranakan restaurants in Singapore. Often served in a large claypot with bubbling curry.

Now that’s the long and short of the dish. And here is the simplified version of this beloved Fish Head Curry! Happy Cooking!

And like I always say, go ahead and tweak the recipe to fit your palate. Until next time!

xoxo,
Regina

FISH HEAD CURRY

 

Prep time 15 min
Cook time 10 min
Yields 2-4 persons

 

 

THINGS YOU NEED

 

 

 

 

½  Fish head (Pre-steamed)
1 Brinjal (Eggplant)
3 pieces Lady’s Finger (Okra)
10 pieces Curry Leaves
1 whole  Tomato
1 Red Chilli
1 whole Onion
1 teaspoons Cooking Oil
250 grams Chicken Broth
200 grams Coconut Milk
100 grams Evaporated Milk
3 grams Salt
1 gram Sugar
100 grams Curry Chilli Paste (Made with Fish Curry Powder)

 

 

HERE’S HOW

Preparation

  • Slice the brinjal (eggplant), lady’s fingers (okra), tomato, onion and chilli
  • Shallow fry the brinjal (eggplant) and lady’s fingers (okra). Set aside
  • Steam the fish head for 7 to 8 minutes until it is just cooked. Set aside

Cooking

  • Heat a pan and add cooking oil, fish curry paste, curry leaves and stir-fry
  • Add chicken broth and bring it to a boil
  • Add coconut milk, evaporated milk, salt and sugar, mix well and simmer on low heat
  • Add the steamed fish head, make sure to coat the fish head well in curry
  • Add the vegetables and cook the dish on medium heat
  • Leave it simmer for 3 minutes before serving.

 

HELPFUL TIPS

 

  • Choose a fish head that has bring, plump and shiny eye. Make sure the eye is not sunken and cloudy.
  • To remove the bitter taste in brinjal (eggplant) you might want to salt the sliced pieces, leave it for 15 minutes to allow the salt to draw out its juices, dab dry with kitchen towel before frying.
Regina
Regina@fuxiangsignatures.com

Regina is an actress, educator, writer and amateur home cook. Her friends think that she is not a bad home cook, her brothers on the other hand, think she is terrible. In her defence, growing up in a family of fantastic chefs, she had always left the cooking to them. Her mantra – they cook, she eats. She is FINALLY learning some of her family recipes and has not harmed anyone with her cooking thus far (fingers crossed.) Now, if she can cook, anyone can cook too!