Curried Hassars à la Courantyne
Ingredients1 doz large or medium sized hassars
2 oz salt
2 oz sugar
3 limes or lemons
2 - 3 tbsp frying oil or cooking butter
2 oz rich curry powder
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion
4 blades of eschallot
4 wirri-wirri peppers
½ cup coconut milk or evaporated milk
- Mix the salt and sugar together.
- Cut off the "beard" and fins, then cut the hassars down the centre on the underside.
- Put a small quantity of the sugar and salt mixture into the cut. Do not remove the gut.
- Leave the fishes in a covered container for 1 - 2 days. This is known as "corned" hassars.
- Gut the hassars.
- Twice wash the gutted corned hassars in cold water with lime juice added.
- Put the hassars into a shallow pan with enough cold water to cover, bring to a boil and discard the water.
- Repeat the process, but reserve the second quantity of water for making the curry sauce.
- Crush the garlic, chop the onions and eschallot finely, and keep peppers whole.
- Mix the curry powder into a paste using cold water and lime juice.
- Heat the fat (frying oil or cooking butter, or a mixture of both) in a shallow pot. (A carahee is the correct utensil to use).
- Add garlic to the hot fat and fry. Add chopped seasonings and pepper and sauté. Add the curry paste.
- Stir then add the prepared hassars, a tablespoon of lime juice and fry lightly stirring all the time until all the ingredients are well blended.
- Now add all the liquid from the second cleaning stage, and the coconut milk, and let hassars simmer until their shells can easily be removed. Serve hot.
Note: Some people prefer to remove the shells before cooking, in which case, the hassars are allowed to simmer in plain water, the shells removed, then they are added to the curry sauce and simmered for a few minutes only.