Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thai-Style Green Fish Curry

I am a huge fan of curry dishes.  The one thing that I love most about curries is the seemingly endless combinations of varying spices and herbs, together with a protein and/or with vegetables.   Even the same curry dish may be prepared in a slightly different way from region to region, country to country. 

My personal cookbook reflects much of that love.  I  have made many curries with a variety of ingredients, including two different types of duck curry (Kerala and Mauritius), pig's feet curry (Kangchu Maroo), and even a curry from the early Colonial period in the United States (Mary Randolph's Curry).  I have also made curries from around the world, from Africa (Mtuzi wa Samaki) to central Asia (Makher Taukari) to southeastern Asia (Kaeng Kiao wan Kung).  I have even tried to create my own curries, such as my Soft Shell Curry, Goan Style.

And, I am always on the lookout for new curry recipes.  Recently, I was going through my cookbooks when I found this recipe for Thai-Style Green Fish Curry.  The recipe comes from Joshua Wesson's Wine and Food and, because of Joshua's expertise in wine, it also comes with recommendations for pairing.  The recipe calls for the use of a firm white fish, such as halibut or sea bass.  I used monkfish, just because I wanted to try something different and the monkfish that was available and it was not on my do-not-buy list.  Monkfish was also cheaper than halibut and I like it a lot more than cod. 

In the end, this Thai-Style Green Fish Curry was a delicious dish that is very easy to make.  If I could make any other changes (other than using monkfish rather than halibut or cod), I think it would have added a little heat from a green pepper, such as a jalapeno or serrano chile.  Just another opportunity to add to the nearly infinite number of curries out there!

Recipe from Joshua Wesson, Wine & Food, page 73
Serves 4

1 1/2 pound of firm white fish (such as halibut, cod or sea bass), 
     about 1 1/2 inches thick
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 can of coconut milk (13.5 fluid ounces)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth (or seafood broth)
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
Finley grated zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon high quality green curry paste
1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cups hot cooked jasmine rice

1.  Prepare the fish.  Skin the fish fillets, if necessary, and discard the skin.  Cut the fillets into 1 1/2 inch chunks and set aside.

2.  Prepare the curry base.  Cut off about two inches of the lemongrass stem and pull of and discard the tough outside layers.  Finley mince the tender inside stalks, measure out 1 teaspoon and add it to a saucepan.  Add the coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, lime zest and juice, curry paste, ginger and garlic.

3.  Cook the curry base and the fish.  Bring the coconut milk mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about ten minutes to blend the flavors.  Add the fish and simmer gently until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with a knife tip, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the cilantro, basil and mint.  Taste the curry and adjust the seasonings with fish sauce.

4.  Plate the dish.  Place a scoop of rice in each of 4 warmed shall soup bowls and ladle the curry over the rice.  

By the way, Joshua Wesson recommends a German Riesling Kabinett as a pairing for the Thai-Style Green Fish Curry, which worked very well with this dish. 


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