Riaz Phillips’ Caribbean fish, mango and okra curry – recipe

<span>Good friends: Riaz Phillips’ Caribbean fish, mango and okra curry.</span><span>Photograph: Kim Lightbody/The Guardian. Food styling: Sophie Mackinnon. Prop styling: Louie Waller. Food styling assistant: Sadie Albuquerque.</span>
Good friends: Riaz Phillips’ Caribbean fish, mango and okra curry.Photograph: Kim Lightbody/The Guardian. Food styling: Sophie Mackinnon. Prop styling: Louie Waller. Food styling assistant: Sadie Albuquerque.

Fish and mango are good friends, and are found together in curries across the world – from India to the southern reaches of Indonesia and the eastern Caribbean. When seasoned and paired with spices and creamy coconut milk, these ingredients create a unique dish. The finishing touch is okra, which when cooked adds its gelatinous, thickening texture to the curry.

Fish, mango and okra curry

In the Caribbean, this is made with gilbaka, which is similar to catfish, or hassar, a jet-black armoured fish. Those are not so easy to find elsewhere, so I recommend using the likes of a red snapper or kingfish. Both are more delicate than the more traditional choices, so I suggest slicing whole fish into cutlets or steaks for something more robust.

Prep 30 min
Marinate 4 hr +
Cook 45 min +
Serves 4

For the marinade
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp curry powder

For the curry
1kg whole white fish, such as red snapper, kingfish or catfish, cut into 3cm-thick steaks
6 tbsp cooking oil of choice
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garam masala
3 garlic cloves,
peeled and minced
2 tbsp coriander, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
½-1 scotch bonnet pepper
, deseeded and minced
Sea salt and black pepper
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped, white and green parts separated
1 large tomato, chopped, or 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
200g hard green mango or red mango
400ml can coconut milk
1 tbsp fish seasoning

8 okra, tops removed
Brown sugar (optional)

For the marinade, mince or pound the garlic, coriander, lime juice and salt, then stir in the curry powder. In a large bowl, coat the fish with the marinade, cover and leave in the fridge for at least four hours, or overnight if possible.

Heat four tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish in batches for 90 seconds on each side.

In a small bowl, mix the curry powder, ground cumin, garam masala, the three remaining minced garlic cloves, coriander, lime, scotch bonnet and a teaspoon of salt. Add 60ml cold water and stir to make a paste.

In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil on a medium-high heat, then add the onion and spring onion whites, and saute for three minutes. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring, for five minutes. If the paste sticks to the pan, add a tablespoon of water to loosen it. Add the tomato and continue to cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the fish and cook, stirring intermittently, for seven to 10 minutes.

Cut a large segment of mango off each side of the seed, score both to make 2cm chunks, then turn inside out to release the chunks. Gently stir the mango flesh into the curry.

Add the coconut milk, fish seasoning, 500ml boiling water and a tablespoon of salt, stir to combine and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Turn the heat to low, add the okra, stir gently, then cover and cook for five minutes more. Uncover and simmer for 10 minutes, to thicken the sauce – you could simmer it on the lowest possible heat for up to 20 minutes more, depending on how thick you like your curry.

Add salt, pepper and brown sugar, if using, to taste. Garnish with the spring onion greens and serve with rice, roti or both.

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