I cook a lot of curries, but this one stands out from the crowd as a bit special (thankyou Felicity Cloake). It takes quite a lot of ingredients and time, but the result is well worth the effort. You can use any firm-fleshed fish, the absolute best being monkfish, which is expensive and can be hard to get hold of. Other options are huss, sea bass fillet, tuna and king prawns (raw).

Here I have used sea bass, tuna and prawns:

1. Take the following spices: 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 star anise (broken up), 1 tbsp coriander seeds and toast them in a dry frying pan for about 2 mins.

2. Put the toasted spices in a pestle and mortar, with 8 dried red birds-eye chillis and grind into a fine powder.

3. Add ½ tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tbsp of palm or dark muscovado sugar, 5 crushed garlic cloves, 3cm of grated ginger root, 1½ tbsp of white wine vinegar and the juice of half a lemon. Set aside.

4. Finely chop one medium onion and fry in 3 tbsp of veg oil in a large saucepan until soft and just starting to go brown.

5. Add the contents of the mortar prepared in (3) and fry on a high heat for 2 mins, stirring continually.

6. Add 1 large grated tomato and cook until almost all of the water has gone.

7. Add 100ml of water, one can of coconut milk (not  the light stuff), and 3 small, hot green chillies, sliced lengthways. Bring to the boil.

8. Turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

9. Add the seafood and cook for 5 minutes or until the seafood is cooked.

10. Just before serving, heat some oil in a small frying pan and cook 10 curry leaves and ½ tsp of mustard seeds for 30 seconds (the seeds should start popping like popcorn). Add to the curry.

11. Finally, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

pic: Geoff Dann

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