Jamaican curried snapper with coconut and lime served with clap-hand roti


Don't be alarmed at the long list of spice ingredients - the mix can be made in advance to smooth preparations. The taste is incomparable to a ready-made paste!


For the snapper

For the pilau

For the roti


  1. For the curried snapper, grind the whole spices into a powder using a pestle and mortar or mini food blender and mix with the cayenne pepper and turmeric.

  2. Heat the oil and butter in large shallow pan. Add the onion and fry gently until soft and just beginning to brown.

  3. Add the garlic, ginger, sugar and spice mix and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, coconut milk, bay leaves and some salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until slightly thickened.

  5. Add the snapper fillets, skin-side down, and spoon some of the sauce over them. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, carefully turning the fish over halfway through. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

  6. For the pilau, wash the rice in several changes of cold water until the water runs relatively clear. Cover with more cold water and leave to soak for seven minutes, then drain well.

  7. Heat the sunflower oil in a 20cm(8in) heavy-bottomed pan, add the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and bay leaf and cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until they start to smell aromatic.

  8. Stir in the rice, add the boiling water and salt and quickly bring to the boil. Stir once, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook over a low heat for 12 minutes.

  9. Uncover and fluff up the grains with a fork.

  10. For the roti, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

  11. Transfer to a bowl and stir in five tablespoons of cold water to make a stiff, but soft, dough. Cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

  12. When ready, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, then form into four balls. Flatten slightly and roll out into 23cm (9 inch) rounds about 5mm (0.2in) thick.

  13. Brush with the oil or ghee, fold in half, then in quarters, roll back into balls, and then roll out again.

  14. Heat a dry, heavy-based frying pan or flat griddle over a medium heat.

  15. Brush each roti in turn with a little more oil or ghee, add a roti to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning frequently and brushing with oil each time you do.

  16. Remove from the pan, place in your palm and clap your hands together 3-4 times, taking care not to burn yourself (you may need to wear oven gloves for this).

  17. Wrap the roti in a tea towel and keep warm while you cook the rest.

  18. Serve the curried snapper with the pilau and roti.