Bhutanese Curry Of Fish & Oranges

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"Bhutan is a paradise for fishermen with the rivers and streams abundant with fish – especially trout – and shellfish. But what to do with all that fish? Below is one recipe for Fish and Mandarin Orange Curry. It is authentic Bhutanese, so it is spicy. If you have a heat-sensitive palate, you may reduce the number of chili peppers to suit your taste. In Bhutan, the fish would be fresh water, but the chef in this recipe used Norwegian mackerel she said came out delicious. But, if you are not of serving this type of fish, this would work beautifully with a mild white flesh fish or salmon. Serve it over rice and it is a complete meal."

Original recipe yields 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (465.1 g)
  • Calories 385.1
  • Total Fat - 19.1 g
  • Saturated Fat - 7.6 g
  • Cholesterol - 99.3 mg
  • Sodium - 634.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 17.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 5.1 g
  • Sugars - 11.3 g
  • Protein - 34.6 g
  • Calcium - 121.7 mg
  • Iron - 1.4 mg
  • Vitamin C - 223.1 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step 1

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the onion slices when butter is warm. Stir and separate the onions as they warm and after a few minutes, reduce heat to low, cover and let the onions rest as if you were caramelizing them.

Step 2

Let the onions cook quietly for 15 or 20 minutes and then resume cooking over medium heat by adding garlic and ginger and stirring liberally.

Step 3

Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the garlic starts to swell. Then add the chili peppers and the tomato, stir and cover again and cook for a 3-5 minutes.

Step 4

Add the water or the orange juice (this can be done earlier if the contents of the pan are too dry) and stir well.

Step 5

When the water is warmed, add the fish stock stir and cook until the contents of the pan are warmed.

Step 6

Now add the oranges and cover to cook. After about 3-5 minutes uncover and stir again, pressing down on the orange and tomato segments to let them release their flavors into the sauce.

Step 7

Then add the salt, Szechuan pepper and perilla seeds and stir well.

Step 8

Chop the fish into serving pieces. It was suggested that you can cut them homestyle, which means having to battle bones at the table, but that's if you don’t mind this. If you use a different cut of fish, you will have to change (reduce) the cooking time to suit the cut.

Step 9

Using the homestyle cut, just lay the fish pieces into the sauce and ladle the sauce over the fish.

Step 10

When all the slices are in the pan, cover and let cook for 5 minutes or so. Then uncover and spoon some more sauce over the fish and repeat for about 10-12 minutes to ensure the slices are fully cooked. Do not flip or turn the slices unless you are confident that you can do so gently without breaking the slices apart.

Step 11

When done, uncover, remove from the heat and plate as desired. Adding a bit of chopped cilantro as a garnish pretties it up just before bringing it to the table.

Step 12

*NOTE: Fish stock is easy to make from stored bones or shells with remainder meat from other meals. If you don’t store shells and bones for stock-making, dissolve some Hon-Dashi Japanese fish stock in a cup of water and use that instead. There is no substitute for fresh stock, but reconstituted stock works in a pinch*

Step 13

** If you are making the Red Rice Pilaf to serve with the fish, don’t forget to use the zest from one of the oranges.

Step 14

The flavor of the dish is phenomenal, hot chilis and sweet oranges over a bass-line of tomato and onion with a grace-note of Szechuan pepper makes this dish a keeper in our home. Hopefully, you will think the same thing. (Words and Photo of Fish and Mandarin Orange Curry by Laura Kelley).

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.