I’ve always had a certain love for leftovers. Cold pizza is a favourite, for breakfast preferably, when the texture of the previously melted and now regrouped cheese offers a very particular if slightly peculiar comfort.
This weekend I discovered another surprisingly moreish leftover breakfast dish, when we wrapped some juicy, just-cooked Superquinn sausages into reheated roti bread, cushioned them into place with some cold dahl and moistened the lot with raita. Not bloody bad! Of course, the hangover was probably a crucial ingredient, perhaps even more so than with cold pizza (which I would eat almost any morning).
But on Monday night I did even better work on the leftovers from Saturday’s currytastic dinner party. As well as little tasters of lamb rogan josh and pork vindaloo (the latter from this Madhur Jaffrey recipe, and highly recommended) I had a generous portion left of my take on Rick Stein’s Madras fish curry. The original recipe can be found here, but below is my version. I can’t say whether it’s better than Ricks or not, as this is the version I ended up making, mostly by default. But I can tell you that it was really tasty, and even more so on the Monday, partly due to flavours marrying and partly due to some extra additions.
Aside from replacing unavailable ingredients (I used local red gurnard instead of imported red snapper and replaced two teaspoons of Kashmiri chilli powder with one each of cayenne pepper and paprika), I also skipped a crucial instruction by mistake and ended up having to improvise a little. Having gotten distracted and tipped the tomatoes into the softened onions too early (pre-spices), I fried the curry leaves and spices and added them to the tomatoes once they had released their aromas. It added such a nice smokiness that tonight I repeated it tonight, adding more fried spices into the reheated leftovers, this time including some garam marsala, black mustard seeds, whole coriander seeds, more curry leaves and a few lightly bashed small red chillies to crank up the heat.
I also added a couple of dried limes before reheating. I’ve never used them before but my fella bought them in his favourite ethnic shop on Thomas Street, and I think they may be about to become my new culinary obsession, being amazingly tangy and intense.
I washed the lot down with my new favourite low-alcohol drink: Stonewell’s Tobairín Cider, which is just 1.5% ABV but full of tangy Stonewell character thanks to fermented Elstar eating apples blended with fresh Jonagored juicy. It’s properly tasty and highly recommended as perfect pairing for a Monday night curry leftover – all the flavour with none of the guilt!
So here’s the final recipe, a mix of what Rick does and what I did and what I would do next time. Enjoy!
A sour fish curry of gurnard, tamarind and preserved limes (aprés Rick Stein)
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely crushed
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
2–3 preserved limes, halved
100ml/3½fl oz tamarind liquid
40 fresh curry leaves
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam marsala
2 green chillies, each sliced lengthways into 6 pieces, with seeds
1 teaspoon salt
700g/1lb 9oz snapper fillets, cut into biggish chunks
boiled basmati rice, to serve
In a heavy-based saucepan, heat a tablespoon or two of oil over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds to the hot oil. Fry for 30 seconds or until they begin to release their aromas. Stir in the onion and garlic and fry gently for 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly golden-brown. Add the tomatoes, preserved limes and tamarind liquid, and allow to simmer.
In a separate pan, heat another tablespoon of oil and once hot, add the curry leaves, cayenne powder, paprika, coriander and turmeric and stir-fry for a minute or two until they release their aromas but before the curry leaves burn. Add to the tomatoes along with green chillies and salt and simmer for another five or six minutes, or until rich and reduced. At this point, you could allow to cool and set aside until ready to serve.
Once ready to serve, heat the tangy tomato base through. Add the fish, cook for a further five minutes or until just cooked through, and serve with plain rice.