grouper fillet with vermicelli and coconut curry sauce

Curry has definitely been an acquired taste for me, but I really enjoy it and get a real craving for the flavor it adds. Here’s a dish that is inspired from a couple of Thai dishes I’ve sampled that’s as simple as sauteed fish over noodles with a sauce.

Feeds 4, start to finish about 90 minutes

Grouper filets about 2×3 inches or however you like

1/2 cup of finely diced onions
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp of curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
All purpose flour
1 tsp white pepper
8 oz coconut milk
1/4 cup dried or fresh lemongrass
1-2 cups of chicken stock or water
1/4 cup cilantro
Chili oil

6-8 oz of small noodle, in this case I used Thai-style vermicelli which is made of rice flour. Make these at the last minute, watch them carefully and shock with cold water to keep them from overcooking. I left salt out of the water I used to boil the noodles.

Sweat the onion then the garlic. Don’t let them brown. When they start to get fragrant, add a tbsp or so of flour to coat well.
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Cook it a little longer, then add the coconut milk, lemongrass, curry, cumin, white pepper. In my case the stuff was too thick, so I thinned it out with chicken stock. Let this go about an hour. Like all other sauces, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. This gets the maximum heat you can get into the mixture in the liquid phase and maximizes thickening.
One it’s done, strain well and reserve for final plating.

Dredge the fish with a light dusting of flour, and satuee over medium heat. I cheat on this at the end. Keep reading. When the fish is just cooked through, take off heat and keep it somewhere warm.
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As I said, I was a little concerned about the fish being a little oily because I cooked it at lower temperature than frying, so I pulled out the blowtorch and finished them off.

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To plate put down the noodles. With the vermicelli make sure they’re not clumped together otherwise it’s a gooey mess. Sauce over the top,
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fish,
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and finish with cilantro
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and a few drops of chili oil.
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Notes:

You can sub milk or heavy cream if you wish for the coconut milk. Alternatively you could leave dairy out entirely and focus on a tasty broth instead.
The type of fish isn’t that important, but this lends itself better to a milder white fish than something like tuna or mackerel.
I’ve messed up noodle cookery more times than I can count, and its the quickest way to screw the whole thing up.
Be careful with your warming oven. 170 is the lowest that my oven will go, and that’s too hit for steak or fish. Turn it on, let it get to just above your target temp and turn it off. Similar to the dough rising cheat I posted recently.
This dish shows combination of flavors that are more SE Asian than anything. Curry with coconut milk, lemongrass, and cilantro can be used for tons of other dishes.
Chili oil is great to try as a topping to pasta, fish, etc. Either make your own by putting a bunch of dried chilis in a neutral oil and steeping over low heat for about an hour or so. I found some at the Asian market for about 2 bucks a bottle.

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