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The Easter Fish Tradition


By Franka Philip



With the glorious four-day Easter weekend coming up, I'm going to take the opportunity to relax and do some special cooking.

The plan is to cook a wicked fish dish at some point over the weekend, so I could feel at one with the thousands in the Caribbean who follow this tradition.

Fish is a staple of Caribbean cooking and moreso at Easter time when the majority Christian population celebrates the end of Lent with a big fish dish.My mother Madge told me she'll be cooking a simple dish of Baked or Steamed Fish with Provisions, Buttered Vegetables and Salad on Good Friday.

While we were comparing our plans for Easter cooking, she told me about the exorbitant cost of fish in Trinidad this year.


It's not unusual for the price of fish to shoot up at Easter because of the high demand but apparently it's worse this year because lots of people have stopped eating chicken after a strange disease - not avian flu - killed hundreds of chickens on a farm in east Trinidad.

Madge told me that kingfish which normally costs TT$20 (approx £2) per pound is now being sold at more than TT$40 (approx £4) per pound. This is quite staggering and clearly out of the reach of the average Trinidadian.

The cheaper options, which are also being sold at double their normal price, are carite at around TT$30 per pound and shark at TT$20. Although the demand for fish rises a bit around Easter time over here, I've never seen prices jump in the way they do in Trinidad.

This weekend, I'll do something simple that doesn't involve slaving over the stove for too long, so I'll do a recipe inspired by Trinidad's first celebrity chef, Sylvia Hunt.

I've adapted her recipe for Stuffed and Curried Cascadura from the book Sylvia Hunt's Cooking. And as it's unlikely that I'll find cascadura here, I'll sea bass instead. I think this will go well with basmati rice and salad.

Stuffed and Curried Sea Bass

3 small sea bass, scaled and gutted
2 limes
2 tsp lime juice
sea salt

For the stuffing
1/2 cup chopped herbs (flat leaf parsley, thyme, chives and coriander)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp curry powder

For the curry
2 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp saffron powder
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 small onion quartered
1 green hot chilli pepper
1/4 tsp sugar

1. Clean and wash fish thoroughly with lime juice. Season with lime juice and salt.
2. Mix herbs and chopped onion with 1/2 tsp curry powder and blend into a thick paste with some coconut milk.
3. Stuff the herb mix into the fish cavity.
4. Heat oil in a deep frying pan, add garlic and fry until golden brown then remove.
5. To the remaining curry powder and saffron powder, add enough coconut milk to make a paste of a pouring consistency.
6. Add the curry paste to the oil and stir quickly.
7. When the paste thickens, add the rest of coconut milk and reduce slightly.
8. Put in stuffed fish, spoon over curry mixture, add quartered onions and the whole chilli pepper and simmer.
9. After 15 minutes, add the sugar, check seasoning, remove the whole chilli and cook for five more minutes.


Philip is a journalist with the BBC in London, England. She blogs as Cancookmustcook.


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A Great Fish Recipe for Easter

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