Fish is something only very rarely eaten in our house. One reason for this is because it tends to be relatively expensive. However, one must remember that there are always cheap ways of eating most things (see my advice section). For instance, if one is looking for a fillet of succulent white fish, why not use coley instead of cod? There is always a reasonably priced alternative to that which is most in vogue. Trout is much cheaper than salmon and one must never forget the varieties that most don’t like the look of, such as gurnard. Remember, in the world of fish, it doesn’t have to look good to taste good; use the misplaced shallowness of other’s to your advantage.
Coley, my whitefish of choice, is particularly good for recipes such as this, since it has a robust, meaty body which doesn’t fall apart too easily – assuming it hasn’t been overcooked. This fish tends to come filleted with the skin left on, though one should remove the skin for this particular recipe. To do this take the fillet from its tail-end and slide a sharp, thin knife between skin and flesh, pull the skin and slide the blade back and forth at a slightly downward angle. If you buy your fish from a fishmonger and can’t be bothered to learn, they should prepare it for you. Though, it is always a good thing to learn a new skill.
This is a really delightful and delicious meal, particularly for this time of the year; not only is it packed full of the fragrant flavour you’d expect from a Thai dish, it is light and refreshing – perfect for this time of the year. One needn’t follow my recipe exactly; the amount of chilli used, for instance, is completely up to you. I don’t like things too hot, so there were only two small red chillies in the dish you can see before you.
The Olympics has begun here in Britain and we just won our first medal – silver in the women’s road race. I do hope you’re all enjoying the proceedings and everything seems to be going very smoothly at the moment. Good luck to your respective nations and I hope you enjoyed the history lesson of an opening ceremony.
Thai Red Fish Curry
• 300g whitefish, I used coley
• A knob of ginger, peeled
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped
• The juice of half a lime
• 2-3 fresh red chillies
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 1 onion, very finely chopped
• 2 good slugs of fish sauce
• 400ml coconut milk (not reduced fat)
• 100ml water
• A generous pinch of salt
• Coriander to serve
1. To make the curry paste blend together the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, lime juice, chillies, tomato puree and a little oil. Heat a little more oil in a large saucepan and begin to fry the onions. After 5 minutes add the paste and cook for a further 10 minutes. Tip in the coconut milk and water and continue to cook to allow the flavours to infuse.
2. Season the sauce to taste before adding the fish in large, skinless chunks. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the fish is completely done. At this point one can serve the dish, though if the sauce is a little thin one may opt to remove the fish from the sauce and turn the heat up for a little while. Ensure it is served piping hot, sticky rice and coriander is optional.
Cost: Though fish can be relatively expensive this particular fillet wasn’t too pricey – a trifling £2. As such, when one considers the inexpensive nature of the other ingredients, the cost of the entire dish isn’t very much at all. Indeed, this recipe is enough for four when served with rice and should set one back a mere £3.20!
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