Warm up winter with a curry

Warm up winter with a curry 1

From spicy curries, to dishes with subtle flavours, Ishay Govender-Ypma’s new book, “Curry” inspired us to get cooking and beat the winter chill.

Locally, many cookbooks focus on regions or cuisines specific to a section of the population. This book includes recipes from people from all walks of life, with an array of influences from korma, vindaloo, and masala, made with seafood, lamb, beef, tripe and even goat. Spanning almost 90 recipes and conversations with more than 60 cooks and food experts, Ishay threads together these aromatic flavours; from a classic KwaZulu-Natal crab curry to the Cape Malay chicken and kasi beef – recipes taken from respected local cooks as they share their stories and recipes. Here’s a teaser to whet the appetite.

Warm up winter with a curry 2

Neela’s Fish Curry

One of the quintessential coastal curries in KwaZulu-Natal is the fish curry. Hot from the red chillies in the masala, tangy from the tamarind that lends it a richly coloured sauce, and with slivers of soft garlic – bring on the napkins and tissues. Neela makes a simplified version and cooks the fish in a gentle manner.

Serves 4 to 6


 1 large onion, sliced
60 ml oil
 1 x 410g can peeled and chopped tomatoes
50 g tomato paste
15 ml (1 T) freshly ground black pepper
5 ml (1 t) turmeric
5 ml (1 t) ground cumin
5 ml (1 t) ground coriander
20 ml (4 t) hot masala
1,25 ml paprika
5 large cloves garlic, quartered
50 g tamarind, soaked in 125 ml (ó C) water, then strained to remove sediment and stones
60 ml water, plus extra if needed
1,5 kg fish cutlets (such as yellowtail or shad)
Salt to season
1 handful fresh coriander
10 to 12 curry leaves

1. In a shallow, broad saucepan, fry the onion in the oil on medium heat until soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and spices and stir well. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the tomatoes reduce a little.
3. Add the garlic and tamarind water, which should be a little paste-like. Allow this to simmer on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water and mix.
4. Place the fish in the saucepan and shake the saucepan gently.
Tip: Don’t push the fish around – it may break. Instead, spoon some sauce over the fish.
5. Sprinkle with salt and mix in carefully.
6. Tear the coriander and curry leaves and sprinkle over the curry.
7. Cover with the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat, or until the fish is cooked through

To serve: White rice or bread

More about the author:

Ishay is a freelance food and culture journalist, ex-lawyer and explorer. She was selected by Mail & Guardian in 2014 as one of their “Top Young South Africans” for contributions to media. She also runs an award-winning blog, Food and the Fabulous. Here, she documents stories about interesting locals, food culture, travel and social justice. Ishay writes for a variety of print and digital media, including the Sunday Times Travel UK, Mail & Guardian and Fine Dining Lovers, to mention a few.

For more recipes, check out Ishay’s book,”Curry” (R395) set for release on 14 July 2017.

Are you keen to try these recipe? Share your favourite dishes that help heat things up during winter.


4 Responses

  1. Indian spices always gives your meals that extra tangy taste. It’s perfect during winter to give the dull season some brightness

  2. Was talking about curries with my colleagues just this morning, will try the fish curry over the weekend… wonder if I can swap the fish for lamb though.

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