17 AUGUST 2023 31 Food&Drink Food is one of my daily pleasures, and it also supports my love of travel. When I cook, I bring diverse and interesting stories and flavours to my plate, using the best world and local produce. There’s no better way to do this than to enjoy the best of the season, with sun-kissed tomatoes, fruity Scotch bonnet and fragrant makrut lime leaves in a coconut curry that will transport you tomy kind of paradise. I constantly pine for sunshine onmy plate, so this takes me to East and West Africa – without leavingmy home in Sussex. The ultimate goal here is maximum flavour withminimal e ort, using fresh, sweet and citrus flavours and the warmth of toasted fragrant spices. The flavour of Scotch bonnet complements the zesty limes and makrut lime leaves. If you’re new to these chillies and prefer things a little milder, seemy tip. Although toasted coconut flakes involve less prep, finishing this curry with fresh coconut takes me back to a recent visit to Ghana, where I took full advantage of this tropical bounty – and what a di erence it makes. Lerato is a cookery writer, broadcaster and author of Africana: Treasured Recipes and Stories fromAcross the Continent @leratofoods LERATO UMAH-SHAYLOR What I’mcooking Photographs: Jamie Orlando Smith, Food styling: Jennifer Joyce, Styling: Wei Tang, Art direction: Pippa Paine Serves 4 Prepare 20 minutes + marinating Cook 35-40 minutes For the sh marinade 3 tbsp coconut milk (shake the can well before opening) 1 unwaxed lime, zest and juice 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp sea salt akes 2 x 200g packs Essential South African Hake Fillets For the toasted spices 2 tsp fennel seeds 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 10 green cardamom pods, bashed For the curry blend 400g cherry vine tomatoes 1 Romano pepper, stalk and seeds removed, roughly chopped 1 onion, roughly chopped 5 cloves garlic, peeled 3cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 6 makrut lime leaves 1 Scotch bonnet chilli, stem removed (or see tips) Coconut fish curry with Scotch bonnet &makrut lime leaves 200ml coconut milk 200ml vegetable stock 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp sea salt akes 1 unwaxed lime, zest and juice To serve 40g coconut chunks, thinly sliced or roughly chopped 25g pack coriander, sprigs picked ½ x 20g pack Thai basil, leaves only 1 For the marinade, mix the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and salt in a container wide enough to accommodate the sh. Add the hake and brush or spoon the marinade over both slides. Cover and set aside while you prepare the curry, or refrigerate for 1-2 hours before cooking. 2 For the toasted spices, toast the fennel, coriander and cumin seeds over a low heat in a shallow saucepan large enough to t the sh later. After 3-4 minutes, or once fragrant, tip the spices into a bowl and set aside. Add the cardamom pods and toast in the same way. 3 Meanwhile, for the curry blend, put 200g tomatoes, the pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, makrut leaves, chilli, coconut milk and stock into a blender. Tip in the toasted spices (excluding the cardamom), then blend until smooth. 4 Pour the curry blend into the saucepan with the cardamom pods and place over a medium heat. No oil is required. Add the dry spices and lime zest and juice, then stir and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook for 20 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened. 5 Slice the remaining tomatoes and add to the curry. Season with salt, stir, cover completely and cook for about 5 minutes. 6 Carefully tuck the sh into the curry with the remaining marinade, then cover and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the sh is opaque and akes easily with a fork. Scatter with coconut slices, the coriander and Thai basil and serve. Per serving 1441kJ/345kcals/18g fat/14g saturated fat/ 18g carbs/11g sugars/7.8g bre/23g protein/2.3g salt ‘This takes me to East andWest Africa – without leaving my home in Sussex’ LERATO’S TIPS The sauce freezes well for up to 3 months and is great with sh, chicken, meat or vegetables. For an extra crisp nish, top with green beans or sugar snaps, added for the nal 3-4 minutes of cooking time. Use remaining coconut milk for chapati, or coconut rice. You can freeze it to use later in recipes that don’t call for an entire can. For those new to Scotch bonnet, or who prefer milder heat, don’t blend it into the sauce. Cut an incision into the whole chilli instead, and drop it into the curry as it cooks.