I enjoy Curry Cascadoo and love to suck on the bones which are so juicy when the fish is well seasoned. Once cooked, the outer shell literally slides off the fish to reveal a firm tan-coloured flesh. My mother knows that this is my favorite dish so each time I travel to my home country, Trinidad, she would prepare it for me. Of course I would have a feast with Curry Cascadoo. Cascadoo is also known as Cascadura and in Guyana it is called Hassa.
On the southern shores of Trinidad there are numerous mudflats where cascadoo fish abound. This strange fish from the Silurian age looks like a primeval creature and lives embedded in the mud. It is an unattractive type of catfish, with a scaly armor-plated shell and lungs that are only partly developed. Once caught, the cascadoo requires a fair amount of preparation before it can be cooked.
First it must be washed thoroughly in fresh water until all the mud on the fish is removed, for the meat itself tends to have a slight muddy flavor when cooked, and the taste can be strong if all the mud is not meticulously cleaned off.
Cascadoo can be purchased in the grocery store or at the market. From my personal experience, I found that the cascadoo is sold cheaper when purchased at the grocery store. In addition they are already cleaned.
4 – 6 cascadoo
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
2 sticks of chive
3 leaves of Chadon Bennie
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
Remove the cascadoo from the packet. Even though they are cleaned, use a brush of some sort to clean the outside of the fish. The belly would have already been cut and the insides removed. After all the fish has been cleaned blend, place in a bowl of water and squeeze half of a lime into the water.
Peel and cut the onion in half, peel the garlic, cut each pimento into two and remove the seeds. Cut the chive sticks into two. Place these herbs into the blender. Add the chadon bennie and thyme and blend all the herbs together. Add a little salt to the blended herbs.
Remove the cascadoo from the lime water. Put about one tablespoon of the blended herbs into the incision of each cascadoo. After each Cascadoo has been stuffed, they can be packed and placed in a freezer to be cooked at a later date if desired.
Put a sauce pan on the stove to hot and add a tablespoon of olive oil to hot, add two garlic cloves to fry a bit. In a small bowl, add the curry powder to about 1 cup of water and mix well. Add the curry water to the hot oil and allow to simmer for about three minutes. Add the cascadoo and mix in with the curry. After about three minutes add the coconut milk. Cover the pot and allow the cascadoo to cook. After about 20 minutes taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary. At this point about half a cup of water can be added. Turn off the stove after ten minutes.