Golden fish steaks with sweet and spicy sauce
  |  First Published: June 2003

Turmeric’s subtle flavour works well with fish, and the spice also gives cooked fillets a beautiful golden colour.

The sauce in this recipe uses tamarind paste, which is available from the Asian section of larger supermarkets and from Asian grocers. Its sour taste partners well with the sweetness of the sugar and the spicy bite of the chilli to produce a beautifully flavoured sauce. You can reduce the bite in the sauce by removing the ribs and the seeds from the chilli before chopping. For those of you who don't mind a big chilli hit, simply chop the chilli, seeds and all!


2 teaspoons turmeric

2 tablespoons cornflour

freshly ground salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

4 mackerel steaks

Sauce ingredients

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, crushed and chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 cup fish or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornflour


• Combine the turmeric, cornflour, salt, pepper and olive oil into a paste. Liberally brush both sides of the fish steaks with the paste and place to one side while you prepare the sauce.

• To make the sauce, dissolve the tamarind paste in a small amount of hot water. In a heavy-based frypan, heat the olive oil over a high heat. Add the onion, garlic, lemon grass and chilli to the frypan and stir fry until the garlic/onion mixture is fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium before adding the tamarind, stock and sugar. Combine the mixture well and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

• Mix the cornflour with a little water to form a paste and add to the sauce in the pan. Stir until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a sauce.

• To prepare the mackerel steaks, heat a heavy-based frypan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, pop in the mackerel steaks. Cook the steaks on both sides, basting occasionally with the turmeric mixture, for two to three minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the steak.

• To serve, I like to tumble some noodles through the sauce and then top the noodles with the mackerel steaks. Garnish with a few shreds of shallot. Of course, you can simply serve the fish steaks with a generous serving of the sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.

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