I grew up eating this salted fish bones curry but somehow, I never like it enough to cook it. I think this is the first time I am cooking curry salted fish bones. My mother loved to cook it very often and that’s probably why I dislike it. However, it is a really delicious curry and if you add in lots of vegetables, it is even nicer.
Ideally, one should put some pineapples and tau-foo-pok as part of the ingredients. However, I couldn’t get these two ingredients.
Seen above are :
5-6 pieces of salted fish bones (Mergui brand is good), soaked a while to remove salt
Two stalk green/red chillies
Bunch of long beans
Cut all the above ingredients into standard sizes.
The important ingredient is the curry powder. Look out for prawn or crab curries powder and NOT fish curry powder. I found this Cap Tarbus brand and that’s why it evokes the memories of curry salted fish. Used to buy that for my mother when I was young.
I blended : Two onions, One bulb garlic, thumb sizes of ginger and tumeric and mix them with the curry powder.
The above are the two spices I used. The black one is mustard seed and the brown one, fenugreek. Just a teaspoon of each will do.
Method : Heat oil, fry the spices. Then, add the blended ingredients and continue stir frying. Add a tiny piece of belacan if you have them. Add the salted fish bones. Then, all the vegetables and add enough water to boil. Add about RM1 of coconut milk and flavour the curry with some sugar, if preferred.
If you use pineapple, the curry will have a nice sourish and lemak flavour.
The curry tastes even better left overnight in a fridge. Normally, if I cook it, I will give some away to my relative because after adding all the different vegetables, I will end up with a big pot of curry.
Seen here is my plate of rice with a sprig of mint leaves. Mint leaves are lovely with the curry. I also fry some papadums and fried chicken.
Try it. It is not so hard to make curry salted fish head after all. We just need to use our instinct to get the flavour balanced well.