Christine Manfield's spiced barramundi with tomato-chilli pickle

"I share a deep love of spices and Asian and Indian flavours with my mentor Phillip Searle (chef-owner of Oasis Seros restaurant)," says Christine Manfield. "He instilled in me the art of building complexity into a dish using flavour and texture. Fish like barramundi respond beautifully to the spiced seasoning and the sweet spicy flavours of the pickle, which takes its inspiration from an Indian kasundi (a mustard pickle typical of Bengali cooking). Look for Humpty Doo barramundi from the Northern Territory - it is the best. Sea mullet is another great option, very compatible to all the flavours. Sometimes I serve this with saffron spaghetti or noodles for an added textural component."

You'll need

60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil ½ tsp chilli powder 6 barramundi fillets (100gm each), skin-on 150 gm (½ cup) thick plain yoghurt Fried curry leaves, to serve   Tomato-chilli pickle 60 ml (¼ cup) malt vinegar 2 tsp brown mustard seeds 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 4 small red chillies, finely chopped 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil 1 tbsp cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground 1 tsp ground turmeric Pinch of ground cloves 1 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped 30 gm brown sugar


  • 01
  • For tomato-chilli pickle, simmer vinegar and mustard seeds in a saucepan over low heat until liquid is almost completely reduced (8-10 minutes), cool then blend with garlic, chilli and ginger in a food processor until smooth. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add ground spices and fry until fragrant (20-30 seconds), then stir in chilli paste and tomatoes. Simmer over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tomato breaks down (45-50 minutes). Add brown sugar and 1 tbsp sea salt, simmer for another 5 minutes, then check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Transfer to a container, cool, cover and refrigerate until required. Makes about 500ml. Pickle will keep for a month.
  • 02
  • Combine oil, chilli, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp sea salt in a bowl, then coat fish with spiced oil. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add fish skin-side down and fry until skin is crisp (3-3½ minutes), turn and cook until fish is just cooked through (2 minutes).
  • 03
  • To serve, spread 1 tbsp yoghurt on the centre of each plate, top with fish, tomato-chilli pickle and fried curry leaves, and serve hot.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Ulithorne Epoch Rosé.

Featured in

Nov 2016

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