Monday, July 27, 2015

Thai Red Curry with Fish

I've diagnosed myself with no-planned-holiday-on-the-horizon depression. I am a big lover of going on vacation and I don't have anything concrete planned right now and it's driving me crazy. Because I'm contemplating taking the Professional Engineering exam either some time this fall or next spring, I've been apprehensive to book anything just yet. I think I might book something for November though because right now, I'm in such a slump. Being at work feels extra mundane when I don't have a break to look forward to so I've really got to do something now or I might have a nervous breakdown.

Similarly in my cooking life, I've been feeling kind of uninspired. This happens every summer because I regard heat sources with such disdain, especially when my wallet and my environmentally conscious conscience can't be bothered to up the air conditioning enough to offset the beads of sweat that collect on my forehead (and if you'll indulge my disgustingness for a second, my pits) when I'm standing next to a lit stove.

Plus, when it's hot, I'm inclined to eat light but there are only so many salads a girl can eat without developing a hatred for all things green. This fish curry was a great solution in many regards. For one, it's super low-maintenance with minimal time standing next to the stove. Secondly, it's full of vegetables so it feels fresh and light but it has some tender fish which gives it some substance. The last bit of praise I'd like to give this curry is that it's easily customizable to whatever you've got in your crisper drawer. Wait, one more advertisement: the leftovers are so good, especially when the ingredients have had time to really soak up the flavors of the curry sauce.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 teaspoon oil
¼ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced lemongrass
4 Thai chilis, chopped
13.5 oz. can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon roasted chili paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 heads baby bok choy
1 squash, sliced
5 oz. (drained) can bamboo shoots (8 oz. undrained)
¾ lb. flounder (or any soft white fish)
1 tablespoon chopped Thai basil

*Like I mentioned above, the bok choy and squash are merely (delicious) suggestions. Feel free to use your favorite produce items here. Some suggestions: bell peppers, asparagus spears, broccoli, eggplant, the possibilities really are endless.

The base of the sauce starts with ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. I have pureed lemongrass on hand (in a little squeeze tube) so I use that but you can also mince up a stalk yourself. I keep my ginger in the freezer which keeps it fresh for much longer and also means it grates up really easily.
If you're into heat, add in some Thai chili peppers.
Grab a wide and shallow pan and drizzle in some oil and turn the heat up to medium.
Add in the aromatics and cook briefly until the onions soften, the garlic sizzles, and the smell of ginger fills the kitchen.
Pour in coconut milk and stir in fish sauce, roasted chili paste, sugar, and red curry paste.
 Bring the curry sauce to a boil and then add in the bamboo shoots and vegetables.
When the vegetables are tender, tuck the fish gently into the sauce. I like to scoop some of the vegetables out and nestle them on top of the fish like a little curry blanket, mostly because it helps the fish cook a little quicker. The fish should only take a few minutes to cook, maybe 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the size and thickness.
Chop up some Thai basil to finish the curry. Sprinkle all over the top and serve.
I made a big pot of jasmine rice to go with the fish curry. It's a perfect blank canvas for soaking up the sauces.
This curry is spicy and fresh and creamy and delicious. Quite a few ingredients go into making the sauce base, but every component is worthwhile. The ginger adds that unmistakable sweet and spicy aroma, the fish sauce adds a salty bite, the Thai chilis add spice, the sugar balances the sharper flavors, and of course, the red curry paste adds a lemongrassy, peppery, sweet and savory depth. It's gorgeous and delicious; a winning combo for sure.
Here's the recipe page:

2 comments:

  1. I *love* Thai red curry but I never thought of making it with fish.. this I will have to try! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know how you like it! :):)

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