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Superfast Pilchard Curry. A spicy little treat.


Okay, so you are hungry, you want something delightful, spicy, clever and fast? We have the technology, or in this case, a small tin of Pilchards in tomato sauce. These little, inexpensive offerings are often overlooked by the serious foody and this is simply despicable! The only sadness is that most of the best Pilchards in the world are caught off the coast of Cornwall, but are exported to Europe where they appreciate such things. Here? Our tinned pilchards are from everywhere EXCEPT here! Stupid.

Okay, back to the dish. This uses ingredients that I commonly have kicking around and so should you. It takes about 10 minutes or so and can feed however many you want. However, here, I have made it selfishly just for one. Oh, and it is unashamedly hot!


Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies finely – don’t overdo the onion.

Grind the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle and remove the shells.

Put the ghee in a large, heavy frying pan at a medium to high heat. Add the seeds and curry leaves and fry for a minute or so – don’t let them burn!

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for another couple of minutes.

Add the curry paste and fry for a few seconds.

Add the courgette and chillies and fry till the courgette is a little soft. Four or five minutes, depending on how thick you cut it!

Add the tin of Pilchards and stir in gently so that the fish keeps most of its shape.

Add the spinach and stir till it has wilted.

Take off the heat and serve immediately. Eat just as it is or with some bread.

Speed is important as you want this as fresh as possible. The courgettes should still have some bite and the spinach not completely disintegrated. The tinned pilchards are already cooked, so you only need to heat them through.

You can also do this with tinned mackerel – though if it does not have tomato sauce, add a bit of purée and a little water. This recipe is very hot, though it has a fresh sort of heat that you don’t get in your average Indian restaurant. However, if you don't want the heat, adjust the chilli quantity or remove them, though they are part of the taste.

Eat well, stay spicy!


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