East Meets West Coast: Baked Thai Lingcod Curry

20140504-123832.jpg

It’s been a while since I posted anything new and interesting. Life kind of got in the way, but I came up with this dish a while ago and figured that it needed to be shared.

Some time ago I was given several large fillets of lingcod, a large white fleshed fish of the Greenling family common off the coast of British Columbia. I’ve been preparing these mild fillets in a number of ways, but I came up with this tasty and fairly easy to prepare recipe when I needed a dish to take to a dinner party.

The recipe below involves a homemade curry paste and stock, but to speed things up a store bought paste and stock could easily be substituted.

Menu

  • Baked Thai Lingcod Curry
  • Coconut Rice
  • Sesame Garlic Brocolli
  • Cut Fresh Fruit

Recipe: Baked Thai Lingcod Curry

Curry Paste:

  • 2 Tbs Canola or Peanut oil
  • 1 Sm Spanish or red onion chopped
  • 6 Sm Cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1″ Ginger root minced
  • 2-3 Tbs Sambal Oeleck to taste
  • 1/2 Tbs Shrimp paste or Anchovy paste
  • 2 tsp Dried red chillies ground
  • 2 tsp Cumin ground
  • 3 tsp Coriander seed ground
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric ground
  • 1 tsp Dried lemongrass ground
  • 1 Tbs Spanish paprika
  • 2 Tbs Fish sauce
  • 1-2 Tbs Water
  • 10-15 Cashews
  • 3 Lime leaves centre stalk removed chopped

Curry/Fish

  • 2 Tbs Canola or peanut oil
  • 1 Med Spanish or red onion halved and sliced finely
  • 4 Sm Cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1-2 Tbs Sambal Oeleck
  • 3-4 Tbs Curry paste to taste
  • 1-2 tsp Fish sauce
  • 1-3 tsp Brown sugar to taste
  • 1 c Thai style fish stock, plain fish stock or low sodium Chinese style chicken stock
  • 1 c Coconut milk
  • 4 Lime leaves
  • Water for thinning while cooking
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Lime juice
  • 2-3 Tbs Fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1-2 Tbs Thai basil coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 lbs Lingcod or other firm whitefish fillets cut into chunks

Method

    Part 1: Curry paste

  1. Heat oil in wok or heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté until soft and starting to lightly brown.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, shrimp paste and sambal and cook stirring for one to two minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the dried spices and cook stirring for another minute.
  5. Add fish sauce, water, cashews and chopped lime leaves and continue to cook until well combined (about a minute more).
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor or blender and process to a paste adding a little oil if necessary to create a thick paste.
  7. ——–
    Part 2: Curry and fish

  8. In the same wok or pan used to make the paste add oil and heat over a medium-high heat.
  9. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  10. Add garlic and sambal and sauté for two minutes stirring frequently.
  11. Add curry paste reserving a little to smear on fish pieces (about two teaspoons) and cook for another minute or two.
  12. Stir in stock, coconut milk and lime leaves and bring to a low boil.
  13. Reduce heat to low and add fish sauce and brown sugar to taste.
  14. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow for the flavours to combine adding additional water if necessary to keep the consistency medium.
  15. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice and let cool.
  16. Cut lingcod into small serving chunks (about 1″x3″) and arrange in a lightly oiled casserole dish.
  17. Smear a little of the reserved paste over the fish and evenly sprinkle the Thai basil over the pieces.
  18. Pour the cooled curry over the fish and bake in a preheated 375 f oven for 20 minutes.
  19. Serve hot or warm.

Notes: I found the finished dish a little on the mild side and if you do you can always add a small handful (4-6) whole fresh red Thai chillies to the simmering curry to kick it up a notch (I usually just slit them with a single cut lengthways down the centre). The chillies also add a nice visual touch to the dish as well–just be sure to warn your guests.

Serves 4-6

20140505-125759.jpg

Advertisements

Thai Style Fish Stock

image

It’s funny how a trip to the grocery store can change a meal plan.

After taking some chunky halibut fillets out of the freezer on Friday evening, I had decided to go with something relatively simple for Saturday–herb crusted pan seared halibut with a light cream sauce–but a trip into the bowels of Vancouver’s old China town, changed things up pretty quick. I rarely make the trip into down town Vancouver,  but my daughter had some work to pick up at the artist supply shop on the edge of China town and I decided to come along.

My first stop was South Seas Market, 265 East Hastings, to replenish my stock of lime leaves. This market stocks almost every Thai product that the aspiring foodie could desire. While there, I couldn’t resist picking up some fresh galangal root, Thai holy basil, a few mukrut (kaffir) limes, a couple of large containers of sambal oelek, and of course a large bag of lime leaves.

Next stop was the venerable Sunrise Grocery on Powel and Gore. Sunrise Grocery has been supplying the immediate area’s inhabitants and restaurants with cheap fresh local and imported ingredients for well over 50 years. I stocked up on incredibly inexpensive huge bags of bok choy, small orange and red bell peppers, pineapples, mangos, strawberries, and of course tofu (produced by the store’s owners under their Sunrise brand). In fact I went a bit overboard in my shopping spree and ended up dividing the spoils with my friends and neighbours.

Once home I realized that my original menu was out the door. I couldn’t bear to leave these fresh ingredients for a single day. Having made a Thai yellow curry only a few days before I opted for a clear Thai fish soup accompanied by a pineapple/pepper sweet and sour and Thai scented rice. Scanning my books and online sources for soup recipes, I found that almost all called for the inclusion of Asian chicken stock–unfortunately absent from my pantry. Faced with a crucial missing ingredient, I opted to wing it (happens a lot, I’m afraid).

Recipe: Thai Style Fish Stock:

  • 1 Medium Spanish or Red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbs Canola oil (or other flavourless light oil)
  • 4 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1″ Piece of ginger, minced
  • 1-1 1/2″ Piece fresh galangal root, grated
  • Fish bones for stock
  • 1 Tbs Fish sauce
  • Water to cover ingredients
  • 1 tsp brown or palm sugar
  • 4 Lime leaves, torn
  • 1 tsp Cumin seed
  • 2 tsp Coriander seed
  • 1 tsp Shrimp paste (optional)
  • 1-4 Red Thai chillies, chopped or 1 Tbs sambal oeleck
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a wok over add oil and saute onions until lightly browned medium-high heat
  2. Add garlic and stirfry until very lightly browned
  3. Add cumin and coriander seed and ginger and stirfry for a minute or two
  4. Add galangal root, chilies (or sambal oeleck), and shrimp paste and stirfry for another minute or two
  5. Add fish sauce to deglaze the pan
  6. Add fish bones and continue to stirfry for another minute or two
  7. Add torn lime leaves and sugar
  8. Add water to cover all the ingredients and bring to a slow simmer for 20 minutes (do not boil)
  9. Add salt and/or fish sauce to adjust the salt level
  10. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a heat proof container

Notes: Please be aware that this is the recipe for a stock and not a soup as such. It serves as a base for soups sauces or curries. I didn’t use lemon grass (one thing I forgot on my shopping trip) but you could add a stalk or two of the chopped and lightly crushed lemon grass along with the galangal in step 4. I used a salmon head for the bones, but any fish bone sections will do. Do not boil the bones, as the stock will become cloudy and a little thickened. If you are making soup you will need to add a little acid (lime juice or palm vinegar) to balance the sweet and salty stock before serving.
Aaron