One of my very favourite things about MMCC is documenting heirloom recipes like this one. Rachel came to our kitchen with the energy of a teenager and spent the morning teaching us some of her Sephardi secrets. As her granddaughter Orit told us, her nana’s recipes are like gold. I wish we could see grandmothers and granddaughters all over the world cooking together. ~Natanya, MMCC


Recipe from It’s Always About the Food by Monday Morning Cooking Club (published by HarperCollins), available now RRP $49.99








Coconut base

  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 1 fresh long red chilli, seeded
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Curry paste

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds, dry roasted
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 fresh long red chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 8 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 700 g (1½ lb) firm white fish fillets, halved
  • 160 ml (²/³ cup) coconut milk
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves only, finely chopped
  • steamed basmati rice, to serve


To make the coconut base, in a food processor or blender combine the coconut milk, tamarind paste, coriander, cumin, turmeric, tomato paste, chilli and salt and process until smooth.

In a deep, wide, heavy based frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the coconut base and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the curry paste, in the food processor or blender, combine the onion, tomato, garlic, fenugreek, mustard seeds, pepper and chilli and process until smooth.

After the coconut base has cooked for 15 minutes, increase the heat to medium–high and add the curry paste. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the curry leaves and salt, reduce the heat to low–medium and slip in the fish pieces. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the fish is just about cooked through.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the coconut milk, shaking the pan gently to combine. Add the lemon juice and coriander leaves and season to taste with extra salt or lemon.

Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Prep Time

30 mins

Cook Time