Friday, 11 October 2013

Red fish curry

My love of seafood has probably become obvious to everyone reading this blog. So, any given time my freezer is packed with some sort of oceany delicacies. One of my favourites is calamari and I usually buy it in bigger lots which I then clean and freeze in batches ready to be be used. On a moment my delusional mind has probably perceived as organizational my brain has devised a classification system. "A, B, C", I hear you ask? Or perhaps something as logical as "1,2,3"? Nope. I am currently the proud owner of several little bags labelled with the following codes: I, B and R. What the letter stands for I'm not sure even a Dan Brown novel could make sense of. But there must be some logic behind them, right...?

The ones classified as "R" found their way into this dish, along with the king prawns, mussels and fish left behind from Spaghetti Nero. This also provided a convenient way to give a new lease on life for some herbs and such by turning them into a red curry paste! The original recipe came from here though it did get modified a bit. I did not have shrimp paste, so I had the choice of either rushing to the Asian supermarket across the town or substituting it with lobster fond. Guess which one I opted for?

Asian supermarkets are such treats - any foodie finds him/herself giddy there as a kid in a candy store. Not only are they superb for all Asian spices and such, they also tend to have the most amazing (and superbly affordable!) seafood selection. In Helsinki there's no place like Vii Voan in Hakaniemi.

This portion of curry paste makes enough for 4 person. Or two 2 person's portions - the leftover paste can be frozen.

Red curry paste:

1 shallot or small regular onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 lemon grass stems 
2-3 red chillis (depending on their size and your palate)
1 heaped tsp grated fresh ginger (or ginger paste)
2 tbsp tomato concentrate
3 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
1 tsp lobster fond
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp gound coriander seeds
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sugar (or more, depending on your taste)

Grind the ingredients to a paste either in a blender or using a pestle and mortar. Start with the tougher, more fibrous ones such as lemon grass and ginger. If needed, add a dash of water to get a smoother paste - any excess liquid will evaporate when it hits the hot pan. Check the taste and season with salt as needed.

Red fish curry (serves 2):

2 generous tbsp red curry paste (half of the amount above)
1/2 red chilli
1 tsp grated ginger
1 garlic clove
1 can coconut milk (thick and creamy - none of that watert low-fat variety)
200 g firm, white fish (I used pangasius)
10 king prawns
10 mussels
4 squid tubes (á appr. 15 cm) 

fresh lime, rest of the chilli and coriander leaves to serve

Heat the wok/ frying pan. Add finely chopped chilli, ginger and garlic. Toss them in a little bit of oil and then add curry paste. Add coconut milk, stir until smooth and bring to boil. Then reduce the heat and start adding the fish and seafood in the order of cooking. 

First add fish, cut to strips of a couple of cm thick. Cook, covered for about 5 minutes and then add prawns (if you're using raw ones). Keep cooking for 5 minutes longer until the prawns are done. Then add mussels and the squid, chopped to 1/2 cm thick rings. If the prawns you're using are cooked, thaw them first and add at this point. Cook for a couple of more minutes and throw away mussels that haven't opened (the beauty of using pre-cooked frozen ones is that there's no risk of them all being dead). Check the taste and add fish sauce, soy sauce or salt if needed. Serve with dash of freshly squeezed lime juice, rest of the chilli and loads of chopped coriander leaves.

In England where The Gentleman is originally from, this weeks marks the National Curry week so have a happy, fragrant and only marginally pungent and finger-staining week, everyone!




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