Vietnamese Fish Curry

Ok so maybe I should call it Alaskan fish curry since their were no Vietnamese people involved in the cooking of this curry. Well actually there were a couple when it came to the inspiration. Ray’s Place is a great little local Vietnamese place that I enjoy more every time I go there.

Last week I was there with my friend Duke and torn between ordering the lamb or the halibut curry. That day I went with the lamb and it was outstanding. But since then I have been craving some halibut curry.

As with most Asian cooking, the lion’s share of the work is done in prep. I put together the mis en place.

This is the base for the curry. It is 3 shallots, 2 green onions, 2 Fresno red chiles, 3 cloves garlic, grated ginger, 2 stalks of lemongrass, 3 Thai dried red chiles, cinnamon, coriander seed, and fennel seed. The dried spices were all ground up in a spice grinder. This was fried in a bit of peanut oil in my cast iron wok. I wanted this spicy so I also tossed in some chile garlic sauce. Oh and I have been hearing about the health benefits of tumeric so I tossed in some of that too.

After about 3 minutes this will start to smell amazing. Don’t be pulled in too far though. If you lean in for a smell it will be like taking a big whiff from a can of bear spray. After this takes on a little darker color, add in about a half cup of water and a can of coconut milk.

Now put in about 3 thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves that have had the stem removed. I also put in about 5 star anise and a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce. This mix is put on medium heat and allowed to reduce by about half. The water you add allows a longer simmering time so that more of the flavors can be extracted into your curry base. Now is also the time to taste and season. I wanted a balance of sweet and hot so I added in some palm sugar, salt, and pepper.

Once reduced, add in about 2 lbs of fish or shrimp and whatever veggies you want. I used halibut and sweet snap peas.

Stir this to incorporate  and cover. I turned down the heat and let the fish gently poach in the curry sauce for about 6 minutes. Just stick a fork in a cube of fish to see that it is cooked through and pull off the heat. At this point toss in a bunch of chopped Thai basil, some cilantro, and maybe add a squeeze of lime juice.

I served with brown rice but white rice is also good. The final dish is dressed with a bit more of the fresh red chile, Thai basil, and cilantro.

This really hit the spot. I had a chill all day until I ate this. Spicy food makes winter seem shorter. J/S

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~ by climbhighak on February 8, 2011.

3 Responses to “Vietnamese Fish Curry”

  1. Robert, This dish is beautiful, colorful and just looks inviting! I bet it tasted as amazing at it looks.

  2. If I weren’t traveling, I’d be making this for dinner. Instead I’ll dream about it, since I thought about it all day.

  3. I am starting to love curry… haha i can’t believe you like Pizza Rolls, lOL! Cool! Hubby just started in the seafood dept at Hannaford, have some interesting blogs comming 🙂

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