Today's recipe is a home style Thai meal of pink tilapia fish with turmeric, braised in a wok with fresh curry paste.
This meal is possibly the best $2.60 I've spent for a while, and as a tasty brunch it was beyond compare.
If one dish with sticky rice and morning glory could be described as an orgiatic feast, this could possibly be it.
We used pink tilapia for this one. It's a freshwater fish with no fishy taste and soft white flesh. In Asia it;s clean, tasty and quite popular.
This would also be a great recipe for plate-sized snapper, grouper, blue eye cod, sweetlip, red emperor, coral trout or the usual premium white fish suspects.
Tilapia has a bad rap – as it's usually farmed.
This can lead to muddy flesh or cheap nasty feeding regimes resulting in poor texture or flavour.
Here in Danang we get ours live from Metro, a big cash and carry store with live tilapia tanks. They're split into size and weight, the larger ones being a little more expensive. The large tilapia are plump and meaty with thick fillets
Turmeric roots are easy to plant in your garden if you're in a warm or temperate climate, or just make a quick trip to the Asian market or grocer to pick up some fresh ones. Frozen is also OK, but dried turmeric powder cannot be subtituted. Fish with turmeric is very healthy as well as tasty. This method of cooking does grow on you.
Ingredients for fish with turmeric:
- 1 each Whole Pink Tilapia or similar meaty white fleshed fish
- 1 stalk lemongrass, smashed
- Fresh curry paste (see below)
- 1 each Turmeric leaf for wrapping
- 1 cup water
To make fresh curry paste
- 12 ea Fresh garlic cloves 35g
- 1 tsp Salt flakes 7g
- 1 dsp Turmeric root, fresh, peeled 15g
- 10ea. Dry red chillies
- 1ea Lemongrass stalk, fresh, thinly sliced
- Pound the curry paste ingredients together in a mortar and pestle until you have a paste
- Split the fish open along the back on one side, butterfly one fillet open only so it can be stuffed. see pictures. Don't fillet it fully. The bones add flavour and you'll leave some anyway unless you're a pro.
- Remove the guts and discard them, feed them to the cat, or mail them to a friend. Up to you. Be generous with your imagination. If you like Pro Hart, you can even chuck them at some canvas and then open an art gallery, but you don't need them for this recipe
- Spread the curry paste into the inside of the fish as pictured.
- Lay the other stalk of lemongrass on top. Just cut in in half and smash it a bit first to break the fibres and release the flavour into the fish as it cooks.
- Wrap fish with turmeric leaf, and fold the leaf over the top to hold it firmly.
- Put into a saucepan with a little water only. About a cupful / 250ml is fine
- Put the lid on, and simmer GENTLY until cooked.
There you go – the tastiest fish you've had in ages.
I got the lions share for brunch today – but you end up cleaning the plate either way and mopping up the delicious sauce. Guaranteed.
Not having enough can actually cause family feuds, so make sure you're generous with the amount you make.
Health benefits of turmeric:
This pungent wee root is considered to be an anti-inflammatory, it fights infection and also helps settle the stomach.
I believe it also brings one close to orgasm if my experience eating it today was anything to go by. You could marry this dish!
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