This salmon curry is so simple it’ll blow your mind. The recipe is from a cookbook, South Sea Island Recipes, and was organized by the Fijian Girl Guides Association and the recipes were sent, to quote, “by the members and friends of the Girl Guides Association, Fiji. It does not aim at being a representative book of cookery, but an aid to the housewives in the South Sea Islands.” This cookbook is what I guess could be considered something of a family heirloom, coming from my Dad’s side of the family. Since it’s a cookbook of recipes compiled from several people, the measurements aren’t uniform: some recipes are volume, using cups and spoons, others give ingredients in weight, and others still use a combination of volume and weight. The recipes are told simply and there aren’t any pictures.
I learned how to make this curry in the early days of when I was learning how to cook. It was also, I remember, the first recipe that I chopped the onion for. (I had previously let my Mum do that, because I didn’t want to get the gas from the onion in my eyes – but, as it turns out, weirdly enough, I’m nearly immune to it. Everyone who knows me and knows this fact calls me lucky.) This cookbook was also the first that freaked me out about ingredients – there’s a recipe in there somewhere that calls for lady fingers and in my childish mind I mistakenly assumed them for human fingers. It took several explanations from different members of my family to realize that the lady fingers in question were the biscuit-y/cake-y kind.
Anyway, on to the recipe. I’m doing this recipe step-by-step with photos and if you want the shorter version, without the pictures, you’ll find it at the end of this post. First, our ingredients:
It’s a skill to take photos on the go and not add extra time to the prep or cooking time, often I’ve only one shot and that’s it – it’s even harder when I take the final, what I call representative, shot and it’s someone else’s serving. (I can spend all day taking pictures of my dinner until it’s cold, I don’t care. I’ve written about this before.) Such was the situation last Saturday when I was making dinner as I simultaneously coaxed the food to pose for photographs while at the same time trying to avoid getting my camera lens steamed up. Trying to do this all faster than usual so that we all could watch the third episode of Sherlock sooner, a BBC drama that has modernized Sherlock Holmes and it is stellar. The stories, the acting, the photography, are excellent and everyone is riveted for the entire ninety minutes of an episode. Now we all have to wait until autumn of next year – not April, as previously thought – to see what happens next and it’s sheer agony to have to wait.
One of my favourite scenes from Sherlock, in the first episode A Study in Pink. The version in the unaired pilot is even funnier, when John Watson discovers Sherlock hasn’t eaten in several days:
Sherlock: “The brain’s what counts, everything else is transport.”
John: “You might consider refueling… So, do you have a girlfriend who feeds you up sometimes?”
Sherlock: “Is that what girlfriends do? Feed you up?”
I have a special relationship, for lack of a better word, with this dish. Clipped out of an issue of Martha Stewart Living from 2004, my family and I made it several times and it quickly became a favourite. One time when I was making it on my own back then, I was low on one of the spices and I ended up using half a teaspoon of cayenne powder to compensate.