This is an Iranian version of surf and turf, elevated in true Shane Delia style. This tamarind and pork belly stew with prawn mousse stuffed red mullet is rich, fragrant and beautifully spiced.
- 220 g peeled medium green king prawns
- finely grated rind of 2 lemons
- 4 red mullets, heads on, whole, filleted, all bones removed
- 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
- cottonseed oil or vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- 2 radishes, finely shaved on a mandoline
- micro celery shoots, to serve
- mirco mint shoots, to serve
Braised pork belly
- 1 bunch coriander leaves and stems
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 100 ml olive oil
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp mild curry powder, such as madras
- small pinch of saffron
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 500 g pork belly, bone and skin removed, cut into 5 cm–thick slices
- 2 tbsp tamarind pulp, diluted in 700 ml warm water, strained
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 20 minutes
To make the braised pork belly, place the coriander, onion, garlic and 50 ml of the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
Place a medium size, heavy-based saucepan pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 50 ml of olive oil and the coriander paste and cook for 2–3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the dried spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, before adding the tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the tomato and cook for about 5–6 minutes or until tomato begins to break down and release juices.
Add the pork belly and tamarind water and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours or until the pork is falling apart and the sauce has reduced to a stew consistency. Roughly break up the pork and adjust the seasoning.
Using a food processor, blend the prawns, lemon rind and salt until smooth. Lay open the red mullets on a work surface. Spoon a one quarter of prawn mousse along one fillet then fold over the other fillet and press lightly to seal (don’t overfill with mousse). Refrigerate for 20–30 minutes or until the prawn mousse sets and the fillets feel firmly stuck together.
Heat the cottonseed oil in a deep-fryer or wok to 180°C. Season the flour well with salt and pepper and use to lightly dust the mullets, shaking off any excess. Deep-fry for 3–4 minutes or until crisp (time will depend on the thickness of the fish).
To serve, spoon the pork stew into a deep serving dish and arrange the mullet on top. Garnish with sliced radishes and micro herbs. Serve immediately.