So the other day I was feeling time poor, but wanted a fiery curry for dinner. Goodbye spices, hello jar of curry paste. With an Asian Supermarket just down the road I went to pick up supplies; zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, spring onions (green onions), coriander (cilantro), fish sauce, chilies, red curry paste* and coconut milk. I already had some white fish in the fridge so I was ready to go, in this case Halibut, but any firm white fish works. I began by cooking the rice (in a rice cooker), which I added some cilantro leaves and roots to for flavour.
*always read the ingredients on pre-prepared pastes and blends, you want as many of the ingredients in the paste as you would use if you made it from scratch and in the same quantities. A good rule of thumb is to quickly read recipes for the pastes and blends online and compare to the paste in the store. If you don’t have an Asian supermarket near by, Whole Foods carries a good range of curry pastes and I’m sure most supermarkets do too. Anyway, back to the cooking..
I then moved onto the curry, dicing the mushrooms, zucchini, half an onion, two cloves of garlic and the fish into bite size pieces and sauteing the mushrooms, zucchini, onion and garlic in a smoking hot pan.
Once the vegetables were nicely coloured, I added 2-3 tablespoons of the curry paste (read the packet, some may need more than others) and cooked for 30 seconds to release the aromas, stirring continuously to prevent the paste from burning (you really don’t want that to happen). To that I added a can of coconut milk and stirred to combine.
I then added the fish and allowed to cook in the broth for 5 – 10 minutes. Try not to stir the curry too much at this point as you will break up the fish, instead jiggle the pan to get everything moving.
At this point, always taste for flavour and seasoning balance. If it is lacking flavour add some fish sauce for salty, lime juice for sour, sugar (preferably palm, but any will do) for sweet and some of the fresh chilli if it is lacking heat, however red chili pastes normally pack a punch.
I then served with the cooked rice and finished with a generous amount of green onion, cilantro (small stems and leaves), finely diced chilli, a squeeze of lime or lemon juice and got ready to feel the burn (a good burn of course).