Hot and Sour

We look forward to Wednesdays. It’s the day when our local shop gets in a delivery of fresh fish.  And if you think that getting excited about  fish is terminally sad, you haven’t met our friends who live in a hamlet in the Charente.  The high spot of their week is the day the rubbish lorry comes.

Still, back to that fish. Generally, I keep things simple with such good quality fresh ingredients. But there are days when only spicy will do. This recipe by Atol Kochhar always hits the spot. Though you may prefer to use only half the chilli paste if you don’t want numbed lips for several hours….It really IS very hot.


20g tamarind pulp
2 tbsps groundnut oil

2 onions, halved and sliced

½ tsp of amchoor OR

1 tbsp lime or lemon juice

600g – 700 g firm-fleshed fish, cubed

Coriander leaves

For the chilli paste:-

6 red chilllis

2 tsps white wine vinegar

¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

4 cms fresh ginger, finely grated

1 finely crushed clove garlic

½ tsps cumin seed

1 tsp caster sugar

2 tsps groundnut oil

Process the ingredients until smooth

Cover tamarind with 400 ml boiling water and leave to soak.

Fry onions till soft and golden.

Strain tamarind and its water into the pan, pushing pulp through a sieve.

Stir in chilli paste and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add amchoor and simmer another 5 mins.

Add fish and simmer for 8 mins.

Serve with plain boiled rice.