COCONUT & TOMATO FISH SAUCE
This recipe feels like a curry, but isn't one, and the flavours can be improvised to be as strong, mild or as soft as you like. Also, the fish can be any type of whole fish you like, and if you are not a fan of whole fish, feel free to use fillets.
The base of this recipe is a delicious tomato glaze that can also be used for meat as well. *don't worry, i will let you know when we get there*
1 can coconut milk
70g tomato puree
3 tbsp honey
juice of half lemon
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
500g of meat stock
2 tbsp fish sauce (if I don't have fish sauce, I usually substitute it with a combo of soy sauce and anchovies)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
salt (start with 1 tsp, then taste as you go)
whole fish/fish fillets of choice
Before you begin your sauce, it is advisable to first brine your fish for about 6-10 hours. You can do this in the morning, before work maybe. The brining process allows salt to be evenly distributed evenly into the fish. This will produce a great fish with strong wonderful flavours. A bring usually consists on just your fish submerged in a water,salt and sugar solution. I follow a rule of 1kg water, 50g salt, and 40g sugar for 600g of fish. you can also add seasonings into the brine for more flavour, like coriander, lemon zest, black peppercorns and orange zest. This method is not a must, but if you are looking for a truly amazing fish, try this.
Asides the brining method, the short cut way to still ensure a decent amount of flavour is to cut lines diagonally on either sides of fish, seasoning with a little bit of salt and fish seasoning around and inside fish, do this before you start making your sauce.
- Preheat oven to 180ºc
- Put the stock into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil, add the tomato puree and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, add more stock if it gets too thick. The aim here is to still maintain a saucy consistency, you don't want it turning into a thick paste (hopefully this makes sense to you). At this point, if you want to use this sauce to glaze meat, you can add the honey, vinegar and lime, with a bit of soy sauce sauce, chilli powder and black pepper ( 1 tbsp), then cook for a minute and take it off the heat. This is a sweet sauce, so bear that in mind, not a fan of sweet, then reduce the amount of honey, and cook the tomato puree and stock for longer.
- Add the coconut milk, with the seasonings, along with the salt, then cook for 10-15 minutes, tasting it along the way for any adjustment with seasonings or salt. When time is up, add the rest of the ingredients; honey, lemon, vinegar and fish sauce.
- Taste again for any adjustments. NOTE: if the flavour of your sauce is strong and well balance, and your fish is well seasoned with a decent amount of salt, you will get a good flavour overall when it cooks with your fish, so taste, taste, taste as you go.
- Pat dry your fish if you brined it and add into the tray, pour your sauce all over and coat fish well on boat sides, cover with foil paper and throw into your oven.
- Cook for between 30-40 minutes. Check your fish and if well cooked, you can take the foil off for the last 10 minutes to allow the top of the fish get grilled.
- Serve with grain of choice. I like to have cous cous with fish