I went away from my evening at Benares, not just with a happy tummy, but also a head buzzing with flavours. For my main course I had Sea Bream with curried moghrabieh, and coconut sauce. The sauce was creamy and mildly spiced, with a wonderful depth of flavour, and the curried moghrabieh was a fantastic alternative to rice with its pearl like texture. Moghrabieh is basically the same as giant couscous, a toasted larger form of regular couscous, with a smooth texture similar to pasta.
The sea bream was pan fried with a crispy skin, but I decided to simplify things, using monkfish I cooked this in the sauce to develop the flavour of the sauce. This style of spicing and cooking is similar to a traditional Keralan fish curry called Meen Molee.
2 fillets of monkfish tails
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
20 curry leaves
2 onions, finely sliced
3 whole green chillies, slit lengthways
3 garlic cloves
500ml coconut milk
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
For the moghrabieh:
200g uncooked giant couscous, (merchant gourmet in Waitrose)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
1st marinade the fish by mixing ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp turmeric and gently rubbing the mixture in the fish. Leave the fish to marinade for at least 30 minutes, or until required.
Make the coconut curry sauce by heating the coconut oil in a large saucepan, fry 10 curry leaves until they are crisp, remove with a draining spoon and place on kitchen paper. Set aside until required. Reheat the oil and sauté the onions, chillies, and garlic.
Add the remaining 10 curry leaves and cook for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the rest of the turmeric and salt, pour in the coconut milk, bring the sauce to simmer and uncover for 5 minutes.
Make the moghrabieh by placing in a pan of salted boiling water, cook for 3-5 minutes or until the grain is cooked (should still be slightly firm like an al dente pasta), drain. In a mixing bowl add the drained moghrabieh, ground cumin, coriander, coconut oil and fresh coriander and mix until all combined.
Simmer the fish in the sauce for 5-8 minutes, uncovered until the fish is just cooked. Garnish with the fried curry leaves and coriander, and serve.