Seafood Curry

Seafood Curry

This fantastic bowl of food was made using this Nigella Lawson recipe as inspiration. It’s from the “TV Dinners” episode of her show, and although it is overall a fairly simple dish to prepare, any dish that involves shelling and deveining shrimp isn’t in on my list of quick & easy. I’ll try pumpkin instead of butternut squash next time for a more carb heavy, filling wintry main.

Ingredients

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (about 1 2/3 cups)
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 1/2 cups fish stock (I used broth from boiling the shrimp shells for about an hour)
3 tbsps fish sauce
2 tbsps sugar (I left this out)
3 lemongrass stalks, each cut into 1/3’s and bruised with the flat of a knife (I used a tsp of ground lemongrass)
3 lime leaves, stalked and cut into strips (I couldn’t find this in my grocery store)
1/2 tsp turmeric (I forgot this)
2 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into large, bite-sized chunks
1 lb salmon fillet, skinned and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 lb peeled raw shrimp
bok choy or any other green vegetables of your choice (I used peas)
juice of 1 lime
cilantro

I added:
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
4 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 medium white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, julienned

Skim the thick creamy top off the can of coconut milk and put it into a large saucepan with the curry paste, over medium heat. Beat the cream and paste together until combined. (Here I added the onion, then the garlic and ginger). Stir in the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil and then add the squash (and red pepper). Cook on a fast simmer until the squash is tender, anywhere from  5-15 minutes.

You can cook the curry up until this part in advance, maybe leaving the squash with a tiny bit of bite to it (it will soften and cook as the pan cools). Either way, when you’re about 5 minutes from wanting to eat, get ready to cook the seafood.

So, to the robustly simmering pan, add the salmon and shrimp (if you’re using frozen shrimp they’ll need to go in before the salmon). When the salmon and shrimp have cooked through, which shouldn’t take more than 3 to 4 minutes, stir in any green vegetable you’re using – sliced, chopped or shredded as suits – and tamp down with a wood spoon. When the bok choy is wilted, or other green vegetable is cooked, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat and pour the curry into a large bowl, and sprinkle over the cilantro; the point is that the cilantro goes in just before serving. Serve with more chopped cilantro for people to add their own bowls as they eat, and some plain Thai or basmati rice (I used brown rice).

An Ode to Portable Food

Two food items that rock my world right now are striking in their similarity: hand sized portions of a starch jammed with filling, gift wrapped and steamed to edible perfection.

I am grateful that my place, both on the planet and in history, allow for these foods to coexist in my diet because the origin locations are about as distant from one another as is physically possible. Chinese zongzi (glutenous rice dumplings) are usually wrapped in bamboo leaves into a pyramid shape and filled with things like cubes of roasted pork, boiled eggs, shredded chicken, taro, and Chinese sausage. The ones pictured, from Kam Man supermarket on Canal Street,  have a filling of azuki beans, boiled peanuts, and shiitake mushrooms.

The tamale stand in my ‘hood is run by a mother & son from  Oaxaca. The mother does the cooking, wrapping and steaming her tamales in corn husks after filling them with chicken in salsa verde, pork in salsa roja , picante queso & vegetables, or a sweet version studded with raisins.

Zongzi and tamales are serious comfort foods, despite neither being part of my experience till long after my childhood.

Bhutanese Red Rice Hash

I think of this dish as my version of the garbage plate, albeit one with a slightly lower fat content perhaps! A marvelous hodgepodge pile of my fridge excavations crowned with a golden, runny egg, this dish in some incarnation is my day-to-day sustenance. Bhutanese Red rice, the base grain of this particular version, has a wonderfully nutty flavor and chewy texture– but it is the color that really impresses. Tossed with a vibrant veggies, this colorful meal is akin to stir fry/fried rice but the addition of the egg reminds me more of breakfast hash.

  • olive oil
  • broccoli and purple onion, either fresh or roasted
  • roasted red pepper
  • yellow squash, fresh or pickled
  • garlic clove
  • Huy Fong Sriracha Chili Garlic sauce
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or salt)
  • white navy beans, pre-cooked or canned
  • Bhutanese red rice, cooked per package directions, about a half cup per serving
  • egg, one per serving
  • shredded lettuce
  • cheese (I used blue)

Rough chop the veggies.

Saute veggies in olive oil till tender. Add beans, hot pepper sauce, and Braggs to taste.


Add rice to pan, toss occasionally till everything is hot.

Serve topped with shredded lettuce, crumbled cheese and an egg fried to your liking.