"Apricots are a trademark Cape Malay ingredient," says Welgemoed. "Typically, this baste is used for hot-smoked snook, but I've used mulloway because it can be hard to get your hands on whole snook here, plus it's definitely on the bony side."
- 100 gm sea salt flakes
- 100 gm caster sugar
- Finely grated rind of 4 oranges
- Finely grated rind of 4 lemons
- 1.5 kg mulloway, filleted into 2 sides, cleaned and pin-boned (reserve bones for making stock for another use)
- For shallow-frying: vegetable oil
- ½ cup (loosely packed) fresh curry leaves
- 90 ml beer, preferably Melbourne Bitter
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 cups applewood or other smoking chips, soaked overnight in water
- ¼ baby fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandolin, plus 2 tbsp fronds
- 2 tbsp each dill and flat-leaf parsley
- To serve: lime geranium and nasturtium flowers or other edible flowers (see note)
- 50 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 450 gm small firm cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthways
- 1 fresh vine leaf, or 1 tsp black tea leaves
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small red birds eye chilli, halved
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp yellow mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp black peppercorns
- 1 cardamom pod, bruised
- 1For pickled cucumbers, bring vinegar, sugar, turmeric, 1 tsp salt and 160ml water to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve salt and sugar, then cool to room temperature (10-15 minutes). Layer remaining ingredients in a wide 1-litre container, pour in vinegar mixture, cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. These are best eaten freshly pickled.
- 2Combine salt, sugar and rinds in a bowl, scatter half on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Place sides of mulloway on top, scatter with remaining cure mix and press all over to coat well. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a container and refrigerate until lightly cured (up to 6 hours, but not overnight). Rinse fish thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels, and refrigerate until required.
- 3Heat 5cm oil in a saucepan to 180C, add curry leaves and fry until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes). Drain on paper towels.
- 4Bring beer to the boil in a saucepan, add apricot jam, whisk to combine and set aside to cool.
- 5Light a hardwood or charcoal barbecue and burn it down to embers (about 1 hour for wood, 30-40 minutes for charcoal).
- 6Brush fish with jam and beer mixture. Place a deep metal tray lined with foil over barbecue, spread woodchips in base of tray and heat until smoking. Place an oiled wire rack on top of tray, place fish on rack, cover with foil and smoke until fish is just cooked (15-20 minutes). Serve scattered with curry leaves, fennel and fronds, rolled pickled cucumber, herbs and flowers.
Note Edible flowers are available from select grocers, garden centres and specialty growers, such as Darling Mills.
Drink Suggestion: Ochota Barrels “The Price of Silence” gamay. Drink suggestion by Taras Ochota