I grew up eating bland food. Very bland food. The only spices I remember being in the house were salt, pepper, cinnamon (sugar), and poultry seasoning. So it has taken me a while to dip my toes into the vast ocean of spices. The folks at Penzey’s do their part to expand my palate with paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. But one thing I have yet to fully embrace is curry. My taste buds have not been trained to savor the complex flavors, or potentially blinding heat, of curry. Call me a one note gal, or a wimp, but I don’t enjoy food that sets my mouth on fire.
In an attempt to move past my flavor prejudices, I have stared making dishes that bring some heat. Of course, I try and balance the burn with something soothing like coconut milk, yogurt, or sour cream. But I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think there’s enough milk in the world that can get me to bite into one of those fiery red chiles from the Asian market ever again. My wimpy taste buds and I can live without repeating that experience.
I’m much happier enjoying some curry heat when I can tame it. Thai Style Fish with Coconut Curry Broth does this beautifully. And for those of you with asbestos coated taste buds, simply add more curry paste to get the level of heat you desire.
Thai Style Fish with Coconut Curry Broth
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
BAH Note: 5 cups of baby spinach sounds like a lot but when it is steamed, it will wilt down substantially. Unless you have a bowl big enough to hold all that spinach, and a microwave big enough to hold that bowl, work in batches.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup coconut milk, well shaken
- 4 fillets firm white fish such as Halibut, Talapia, Cod, Orange Roughy, or Red Snapper
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 scallion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 5 cups baby spinach
Place the spinach and about a tablespoon water in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for approximately 2 minutes and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the shallots and cook for approximately 4 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the curry paste, stir, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk. Bring the liquids to a boil then lower the heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the fish to the pan, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Stir in the green onion and cilantro.
Place some steamed spinach in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with a piece of fish and sauce.