We kid you not. The moment my friend switched on the stove I timed it. In reality, getting the ingredients all in the pot took a mere 10 minutes! Leaving it to simmer for 5 minutes.
Now admittedly, not everyone cooks at the speed of light like this talented chum of mine, but what I want to emphasize here is that fish head curry is actually pretty simple and cheap to make. We ended up with a nice fat jenahak head (since we are still in local fish mode) which costs about RM25, the same head eaten at a fish head restaurant can set you back about RM60 and that's not including your drinks, rice and other things.
Let's get cracking.
The ingredients don't look so intimidating right?
5 cloves garlic
1 big onion
A bit of water
1 fish head (merah, jenahak) easily 2 kg
2 round eggplants
10 lady's fingers (medium)
4 green chillies
1 stalk curry leaves
2 tbs pure assam jawa
3 tbs fish curry powder (we used Baba's)
1/2 (about 300g) packet santan (coconut milk)
3 tbs oil
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
Wash the fish with coarse salt. This cleans out the 'muddy' smell to the fish. In fact, this is one of the main tips to making great fish head. The head has to be nice and clean. One of my favourite assam pedas places in Batu Pahat cleans their heads so well, it's practically white. So when you cook it, the sweetness of the fish really pops out.
Heat oil and throw in curry leaves first. Once oil is fragrant put in onion-garlic blend with curry powder.
Fry until fragrant.
Chop tomatoes and eggplants into 8 and put them in with and green chillies (sliced lengthwise). Stir them around.
Pour in 1/2 cup water first, stirring well (about 5-6 minutes).
Put in salt and assam jawa, finish up the water.
Stir and add in santan.
10 minutes to get to this!
Put in fish head and lady's fingers.
Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes and you're done!
You can of course let it simmer a little longer if you like.
What cha lookin' at?
This fish head curry is Penang-style so it's a little sour- the way I like it! Now all you need is some hot white rice and a bit of sambal belacan. Purr... Purr...
And they licked the platter clean...