As with many South Indian dishes, Sri Lankan cuisine combines the spices of India with the creaminess of the coconut and tanginess of tamarind to create that delicious taste of the coast. Fish is an abundant resource and while it is usually cooked in chunks, with a little extra patience and care cooking the salmon darne whole absorbs the flavours well and looks great. You’ll need a large, flat-bottomed pan to cook the salmon darnes whole or split the sauce into two pans.
What you need… • 4 salmon darnes of about 180g each (with skin left on one side) • 2 Tablespoons oil • 1 onion, finely chopped • 2 teaspoons garlic paste • 1 teaspoon ginger paste • 3 chillies, chopped • 2 tomatoes, chopped • 1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste • 400ml coconut milk • 15 curry leaves • Cracked pepper to garnish
Marinade • Tablespoon lemon juice • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder • 1 teaspoon chilli powder • 0.5 teaspoon salt • 0.5 cracked black pepper
How you make it… 1. Dry the salmon darnes with a paper towel. 2. Mix all the marinade ingredients and rub it on the salmon, making sure they are all well covered. Leave for 30 minutes. 3. Heat the oil to a medium heat, add the onion and cook until they soften (about 5 minutes). 4. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook for 1 minute. 5. Add the chillies and cook for 1 minute. 6. Add the tomatoes, tomato ketchup and tamarind, and cook for 3 minutes. 7. Add the coconut milk, stir well and cook until the sauce reduces (about 4–5 minutes). 8. Add in the salmon pieces, gently cover them in sauce, add the curry leaves, and let the sauce bubble away until the salmon is cooked (about 8–10 minutes). 9. Serve with some cracked peppers on the top.