I think you may be as surprised as I was by the amount of salt Sri Lankans use in their cooking. The type of salt used is a fine sea salt that is damp to the touch – if you dip your finger into its flavour, it is intense but not overpowering. The sauce that is spooned over the fish is known as a gravy.
6 x 250g/8oz firm white fish, such as sea bass
300ml/10fl oz coconut milk
6 cloves of garlic
12 curry leaves
5 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
tsp coriander seeds, roasted and pounded
5 cardamom pods
The juice of one lime
A good pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Lay the fish in a baking tray and pour over the coconut milk. Scatter over all the other ingredients and finish with the pinch of salt. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove and serve with the coconut sambal alongside.