Assam lemongrass fish stew

World cup fever is definitely in the air. This time in 2006, we were in Germany and loved every minute of it. The passion for the sport is so exhilarating. Everyone talked about football (not soccer). It is FOOTBALL. I remembered the joy and OMG feeling when Socceroos thumped Japan in the first round. And we were in the Munich stadium when we lost to Brazil. And also the moments of that we were in a bar in Italy when we watched Socceroos drew with Croatia 2-2 to go into the next round, facing Italy.  And how our dream ended the 2006 world cup dream when we lost to Italy.  I love the world cup. I love football. It brings all sorts of people together, just like food. I don’t mind the late nights and early mornings. The World Cup only happens once every 4 years. Time to start saving for 2014. We want to be where the action is.

Socceroos vs Japan 3 – 1

We beat Japan world cup 2006

We beat Japan world cup 2006

Brazil vs Socceroos 2-0 (Allianz Arena)

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

An assam dish always uses tamarind and so always expect a sour taste. I always thought that it is just popular in SE Asian countries until I read and learnt more about it in wikipedia. It has opened doors to me and I am going to experiment it a little more than just the savory assam dishes that I grew up with.

Wet Tamarind

Wet Tamarind

Ingredients:

  • 2.2kg of whole fish (I used trevally and get the fish monger to slice it into cutlets for you. Keep the head!)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 35g of fresh young ginger, julienne
  • 150g of tamarind
  • 250ml of hot water
  • 800g tomatoes, quartered and de-seeded
  • 3tbsp of tamarind
  • 21/2 tbsp of sugar
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2tbsp of light soy
  • 2 tbsp of homemade chilli paste (you can use store bought or use chilli powder – please reduce if you are not a lover of heat)
  • Seasoned flour with salt and white pepper
  • Salt

Fish stock (1.25L)

  • Fish head
  • Lemongrass tops
  • Ginger bits
  • 2 cloves of garlic
Preparing fish stock

Preparing fish stock

Preparation is key to this dish.  The fish stock that I make varies as it depends on the off cuts that I use on a dish and what I have on hand.  Homemade stock is always better than a store bought one.

Preparation of the dish

Preparation of the dish

Fish simmering away

Fish simmering away

Method:

  1. Make the fish stock first. I used the fish head, lemongrass toppings and off cuts, ginger skin and garlic cloves. Simmer at very low heat for about 45mins. Strain and set aside
  2. Prepare the tamarind water first. Mix the tamarind paste with hot water. Allow it to soak until it is soften. Pass it through a sieve. There should be more than enough. Keep the rest or use the amount required in this recipe
  3. Dust the fish with seasoned flour and pan-fry the fish till they are all nicely brown on both sides. Set aside
  4. Heat a good amount of oil in a heavy pan. Add the diced lemongrass, garlic and ginger. Saute till fragrant
  5. Time to add the tomatoes, kaffir leaves and chilli paste. Combine well. Add about a cup of stock first. Allow it to deglaze the pan. Then add another cup of stock, tamarind water, sugar, salt and light sauce. Taste and adjust according to your own taste.
  6. Add the fish cutlet and turn down to low heat to simmer with cover on for 10mins
  7. Remove cover, taste and adjust seasoning. Continue to simmer at low heat for another 5 – 7 minutes. Taste and serve hot with white rice and a serving of vegetables on the side
Assam lemongrass fish

Assam lemongrass fish

Usually our home cooked meals are one pot wonders. This dish does take a little bit more effort but so worth it at the end.

Which team are you supporting in the World Cup?