Brill with toffee and cumin carrots

Glynn Purnell creates intriguing flavours and textures in this fusion meal that blends the taste of the tropics with classic European techniques
By Glynn Purnell
Brill with toffee and cumin carrots
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the vinaigrette

  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large carrots, shredded in thin strips
  • 1 lemon, finely cut zest only

For the fish

  • 600 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 1 pinches garam masala
  • 1 pinches ajwain seeds
  • curry powder
  • 4 x 150 g brill fillet
  • 1 pinches rock salt
  • 2 pinches ground ginger

For the toffee carrots

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 25 g salted butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 carrots, cut into wide strips using a mandolin or vegetable peeler
  • 1 large passion fruit, halved, then flesh and seeds scooped out
  • small herb and salad leaves, to garnish

Tips and Suggestions

Ajwain spice, which brings a special heat to many Indian fish dishes, can be found in specialist Indian shops


1. For the vinaigrette: mix all the vinaigrette ingredients well together in a bowl until you have a smooth dressing. Set the vinaigrette aside.

2. For the fish: pour the coconut milk into a large saucepan, then stir in the garam masala, ajwain seeds and curry powder. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer over a medium heat. Lay the brill fillets in the simmering coconut milk and cook them gently for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the fish in the coconut milk to keep warm.

3. For the toffee carrots: make a caramel. Tip the sugar into a heavy-based frying pan and leave it to melt, undisturbed, over a medium heat. When it starts to bubble and turn golden, drop in the cubed butter and cumin and holding the pan handle, carefully swirl the mixture until it turns to a toffee. Stir in the wide carrot strips until they are coated in the toffee, then mix in the flesh and seeds from the passion fruit.

4. Using a fish slice, remove the fish fillets from the coconut milk and transfer to serving plates. Season them with rock salt and the ground ginger. Lay the wide toffee carrot strips alongside the fish then finish the fish and toffee carrots with the carrot vinaigrette. Garnish with small herb and salad leaves.

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