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Fillet of Snapper with Caramelized Basmati Rice and Curry Sauce

30 minutes


4 persons

Tasty and easy dish to assemble with many components being suitable for preparation before the meal. My dearest friend told me that when he was growing up, a treat for the best behaved child was to eat the crispy rice at the bottom of the casserole, it was called ‘pega o costra’. Ours is a homage to that idea, not that I’m ever well behaved.

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4 x 150g Red Snapper steaks, preferably cut from a 3.5 kg fish. Each steak will be cut in half, so you will have eight pieces.
200g basmati rice
80g sultanas
2 x medium sized onions
20g curry powder -plus a sprinkling for the fish.
400 ml coconut milk
100g fine French beans
150g butter
50 ml olive oil
Salt, pepper, lemon juice


Slice the onions and heat a wide bottomed casserole.
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Add 50g of butter, then the onions, salt pepper and the curry powder. Lower the heat.
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Cook the onion/curry powder mixture for about 30 minutes until the onions are soft and crucially, until the powder doesn’t taste ……….powder-y.
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Add the coconut milk, bring back to the boil and liquidize and strain. It should be quite thick, thanks to the efforts of the onions. Set aside.
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Rinse the rice in cold water for thirty seconds, we do not want to wash all the starch out, as we need it to stick together.
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Place in a casserole with twice the amount of water. Add salt, boil with a lid and cook for fourteen minutes. This is a minute longer than normal, but we want it the very slightest, over-cooked. Remove from heat but keep covered.
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Turn rice onto a tray.
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Soak the sultanas in boiling water while the rice is cooking.
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Remove sultanas from the water and mix with the rice.
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Heat a sauté pan, big enough to cook four ‘rings’ of rice, heat 20 g of butter.
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Place the rings in the sauté pan, and distribute the rice between the moulds. You will be making eight.
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Push the rice down as hard as you can. This is very important for the form.
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Cook the rice a light brown on both sides. They are fragile. Keep warm.
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Cook the French beans in boiling water, refresh and preferably split them lengthwise.
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Season the snapper pieces with salt, pepper, and a little curry powder.
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Heat a sauté pan, one big enough for the eight pieces to cook at the same time.
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Heat 50 ml of olive oil and 50 g of butter. Allow to colour then add the fish, presentation size down.
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Cook both sides.
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Heat sauce and distribute between four plates.
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Distribute rice ‘cakes’ between the four plates.
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Season fish with lemon juice and arrange fish on top of each rice ‘cake’.
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Heat French beans and balance a little pile on top of each plate. I ran a little balsamic vinegar reduction around the outside.
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Here is a perfect example of a dish with four components that all need to be hot at the same time (five, if you include the plates) The fish, the rice, the sauce and the French beans. Learn to coordinate things, calculate cooking times, so have the rice heating as you’re cooking the fish if you estimate the fish will take a total of four minutes. Beans will take just thirty seconds thrown into the same pan as the sautéed fish.

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