One would think that living in Cape Town would permit consumers to buy a wide array of sustainable fresh fish but believe it or that is not so.
I quickly learned that to have delicacies such as crayfish or West and South coast lobsters, you have to catch it yourself, own a fishery, own a restaurant or at least know someone who owns a fishery. At Christmas, my boys supplied us with our Christmas eve meal of crayfish, fresh from the sea onto the braii(BBQ) experience. Recently, I was treated to South coast lobster, which is a deep water, large tailed species often shipped all over the world. Thankfully, our good friends happen to own a fishery so we did not have to go fishing for this catch. When we were invited to their house, Nadia was quick to mention that Iqbal was cooking his famous curry. I was quick to plead for a spectator’s position while he prepared the meal.
Our Friday afternoon cooking extravaganza was a memorable one that I would like to share with you.
According to Iqbal, this curry needs to be very spicy to be good, which is not so for fish curry.
4pds (2kg) lobster tails
1tbsp fenugreek(methi) seeds, soaked in hot water
2/3C(150ml) vegetable oil
5 cardamom pods
1/3-1/2C fresh lemon juice (or bottled if fresh not available)
1tbsp ground coriander (dhania)
1tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp. chili powder
1tsp crushed chilies
½ tbsp. salt
½ large onion, sliced and kept together
3 fresh chilies, chopped with seeds
10 tomatoes, crushed in a blender
2-3tbsp mustard seeds, cooked in oil until they begin to pop.
Heat oil and add full onion slices to a large pot.
Once softened, add methi seeds and allow to brown with onions
Add cloves and cardamom seeds
In a separate bowl, mix all of the spices together with lemon juice creating a paste.
Add hot mustard seeds as they begin to pop in the oil.
Once the onions are lightly browned, add spice paste to onions.
Cook for 3-5 mins.
Add tomatoes, mix and bring to a boil.
Add lobster tails with shells
Stir to be well coated with sauce
Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Before serving, taste and add more chilies if not hot enough.
Cook then finish off with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Serve with rice