Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fiery Autumn Curry of Monkfish and Sweet Potato

WheelerandCompany packed up went to Powerscourt Gardens in Co. Wicklow today. 
I was not particularly excited about the prospect of going as for me the large commercial ground floor of the original house is overdone plus we have had several poor experiences in the cafe.  But I am always willing to give things another go.

So ignoring the house, we headed through to the garden which was at its most beautiful today - it was as bright an Autumn day as I have ever experienced, the vibrant colours shone reminding me how wonderful this season really is. 
We celebrated the bank holiday weekend with a delicious red Thai curry packed with succulent mouthfuls of monkfish, fresh crunchy vegetables and vibrant sweet potato - hearty but uplifting and delicious.



To make a good red fish curry for 4 you will need:

The Paste:
4 birds eye(hot) chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp coriander seeds
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
4 shallots, chopped ( or 1 medium onion)
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 limes, zest and juice of
2 tblsps hot cayenne pepper 
2 tblsps Thai fish sauce (Naam Pla)

The rest:
400ml fish stock - I used stock cubes
5 kaffir lime leaves
350-400g monkfish, cubed
8-10 raw prawns
fresh coriander leaved for garnish

Place the cumin and coriander seeds into a frying pan or saucepan and heat until you can smell their aroma - this will only take a few minutes.  Crush the warm seeds using a pestle and mortar and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a small electric blender.  Whizz until you have a medium-rough paste.  The quantities listed will give enough paste for a curry for four people - a handy tip here is to double or triple the quantities and this can be made in bulk and frozen in smaller portion sizes.



Simply add 4 tblsps of the paste into a large wide casserole dish and cook for a few minutes.  Add 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk and 5 dried kaffir lime leaves and bring it to a low simmer. 

Add the sweet potato and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add the remaining vegetables - I used courgette, aubergine and red and yellow peppers simmer gently for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables still have a bit of bite to them. 

Add some monkfish or other meaty white fish and perhaps some raw peeled prawns.  Place the lid on and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through.  Note if using frozen prawns, put them in before and give them a few minutes cooking before adding the raw fish.

Serve with basmati or Thai jasmine rice, a slice of lime wedge and some fresh coriander leaves.

The important thing to remember here is that once the paste is made, your hard work is done, you can add raw chicken, prawns, squid and/or any vegetables you like, green beans, mange tout or baby corn - whatever you might have to hand and need used up.

For me this is the perfect fiery Autumnal dish where the colours are magnificent and the heatiness gives warmth to the soul.


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