Thai-style fish curry
Look out for coconut cream that doesn’t contain emulsifiers – you want to cook the cream so the fat splits and separates out of it, this process is called ‘cracking’. The curry paste is then added and fried to cook out any raw flavours. If in doubt about your coconut cream you can fry off the paste in a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil or vegetable oil instead and add the coconut cream next.
15 minutes prep.
35 minutes cooking
- 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil
- 500 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 400 ml coconut cream
- 250 ml chicken stock or water
- 3 long red chillies, split in half lengthways
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, crushed in your hand
- 80 ml fish sauce, plus extra to taste
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar, plus extra to taste
- 4 200 g pieces skinless firm white fish, such as barramundi or blue-eye
- ½ bunch snake beans, cut into rough 5 cm pieces
- Juice of 1 lime, or to taste, plus extra wedges to serve
- Thinly sliced small red chilli to taste
- Steamed jasmine rice, Thai basil and coriander leaves, to serve
- 8 - 10 green bird's eye chillies, or to taste
- Pinch of Salt 1½ tablespoon chopped galangal 3 lemongrass stalks, tender white part only, finely chopped
- 3 lime leaves, finely chopped 1 teaspoon finely grated kaffir lime rind (optional)
- 3 coriander roots, soaked in water to remove grit, then drained and finely chopped 1 teaspoon chopped turmeric, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 3 red shallots, coarsely chopped 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- To make the curry paste, pound the chillies in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Add each of the remaining ingredients one at a time, pounding after each addition until they become combined and a paste forms.
- Pound all of the ingredients together until a homogenous paste forms.
- Heat the oil over a medium-high heat, add the pumpkin and fry, turning occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown, set aside.
- Cook half of the coconut milk in a large saucepan over a high heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the coconut cream starts to separate and ‘crack’. Add the curry paste and stir for 6 to 8 minutes until it becomes aromatic and the raw taste has cooked out. Add the remaining coconut cream and the stock, pumpkin, chilli, lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until well-flavoured and the pumpkin is tender.
- Add the fish pieces in a single layer and add the snake beans, cover and simmer for a further 5 to 6 minutes until just cooked through. Add the lime juice and then taste the curry sauce and check for a balance of flavours – it should taste spicy, sour, salty and sweet. Add a little extra sliced chilli, lime juice, fish sauce or palm sugar to your taste if you need to.
- Serve hot scattered with Thai basil and coriander, with steamed rice.