Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fancy Fish Curry

Sorry for the iPhone photo. I don't always bring the good camera to work
This recipe is based on one for Gulai Ikan from Charmaine Solomon's "The Complete Asian Cookbook." I was in the mood for an East Asian green curry fish dish (yes, my cravings are just that specific) but I didn't have all the ingredients, namely curry leaves. Plus, I was working with Grace brand Pure Creamed Coconut, which comes in a box and is basically super concentrated coconut. It's pretty good, but I find the texture a bit mealy. Thus, the straining, and thus the most silky, delicious curry sauce I've ever made in my life. Just a warning, you will end up with a whole pile of dirty dishes and this isn't really the quickest thing to make.


  • 1 lb basa fillets, cut into manageable chunks
  • 1/2 package of Grace Pure Creamed Coconut (cut it lengthwise so you get the oil as well as the meaty part) 
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and roughly chopped (less if you want, but these aren't really that spicy)
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 strips lime rind
  • splash of fish sauce to taste
  • chives, chopped

Let's do it!

  1. Simmer the creamed coconut in 1.5 cups of water until it's completely dissolved.
  2. If you're using ground spices, great. If not, buzz all the spices in a spice grinder (I almost exclusively use whole spices. I hear they keep longer.)
  3. Simmer the coconut milk, onions, garlic, ginger, jalapeño spices and lime rind for about 10-15 minutes to cook the vegetables and let the flavours meld.
  4. Add fish sauce to taste.
  5. When the flavours are to your taste, run the mixture through a very very thin drum sieve. This is an annoying, laborious process. It requires using a ladle to stir and push as much of the sauce as you can through the sieve. The sieve I have has holes just about big enough for baking powder, but not granulated sugar. I don't know where my mom got it from. Possibly an Asian housewares store.
  6. Lay the fish fillets on a heated saute pan and pour the sauce over it. 
  7. Simmer until the fish is cooked, about 4 minutes per side.
  8. Top with chives.

Lunch it up!
I served this with sauteed kale and cabbage and brown rice. And it was INCREDIBLE. I packed the rice with the veggies and the separately so that the rice wouldn't soak up all the sauce. I heated them together.