Cod Tempura with Cape Malay Curry Sauce

Here, chef Richard Carstens blends the clever spicing of South Africa's Cape Malay cooking and the Dutch affection for dried fruits with Asian and French influences.

Slideshow: Cod Recipes
  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4


apricot-sake puree
  • 1/4 cup dry sake
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • Pinch of kosher salt
cape malay sauce
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup clam broth
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
cod tempura
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup tempura flour (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup cold sparkling water
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Four 4-ounce skinless cod fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • Cubed fresh pineapple, small cilantro leaves and steamed basmati rice, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the Apricot Puree

    In a small saucepan, heat the sake until warm. Add the apricots and let stand at room temperature until softened, about 30 minutes. In a mini food processor, puree the apricots, sake, vinegar, sugar, water and salt. Strain the puree through a sieve.

  2. Make the Cape Malay Curry Sauce

    In a small saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the curry powder, peppercorns and turmeric and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the clam broth, vinegar, bay leaf and sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat until the sauce is reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the sauce to a blender and, with the machine on, add the butter one cube at a time until incorporated and the sauce is thickened. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and keep warm.

  3. Make the Tempura

    In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole or heavy saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 400°. Set a rack over a baking sheet. Spread the all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl. In a large bowl, combine the tempura flour, sparkling water and ice cubes and whisk until barely blended, with some small lumps remaining. Season the fish with salt, then dredge in the all-purpose flour, dusting off the excess. Dip the fish in the tempura batter, letting the excess drip off. Fry the fish, turning occasionally, until golden, crisp and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to the rack to drain briefly.

  4. Make the Tempura

    Spoon some of the Cape Malay sauce in the center of each plate and top with the cod tempura. Spoon the apricot puree on one side of the fish and arrange some pineapple on the other. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.


Tempura flour is a specially blended coating mix based on soft wheat flour and potato starch or cornstarch. It's available at supermarkets and Asian specialty shops.

Suggested Pairing

Pair the crisp, sweet and tangy fish with a passion fruit–inflected or zesty Chardonnay.

Contributed By Photo © Christina Holmes Published April 2014

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