The complex flavours of curries are governed by just three things: generous spicing; onion, ginger and garlic done just right; and something to give it body.
When I lived in Australia I loved going to different places learning how to cook. One of the cookery schools I attended was a place called the Spirit House, nestled in beautiful tropical surroundings in Queensland run by 2 wonderful Thai women. This is where I learnt how to make various Asian dishes and also different curry pastes from scratch. There is nothing quite as rewarding as making your own paste. The flavours explode in your mouth and you leave your guests begging for more!
I have used monkfish tail fillet that has a mildly sweet taste and a firm, dense texture, similar to lobster meat.
I cooked for 6 people and used 800g of monkfish.
For the curry paste
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
5large red or green chillis.
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander stems (Use the leaves for the main dish)
1 stalk lemongrass
1 small red onion
Sauce and marinade
1 teaspoon turmeric
10 large vine tomatoes
2 400ml tin coconut milk
I used a mix of wild rice and basmati rice (Use whatever rice is to your liking)
Fresh coriander leaves
Firstly chop the monkfish into decent sized cubes, marinate with zest and juice of 2 limes along with a decent teaspoon of turmeric and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
Now to make the beautiful paste.
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds on a hot pan, you can use ground but these give much better flavour. Make sure the pan is hot before putting on seeds, the seeds roast very quickly so be careful not to burn. Ground down the toasted seeds in a pestle and mortar. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a paste is formed. You may need to use your spatula to wipe down sides a few times while belonging. Put into a jar and keep in the fridge, it goes fabulous with any fish and you only need a small bit when using.
Cook your rice and keep aside, I put mine in a warming dish in the oven at 50 degrees and cover with wet parchment.
Roughly chop the tomatoes, heat a large casserole pan over medium-high heat and add a splash of oil. Add the tomatoes and a teaspoon of salt. 1 can of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of the paste. (You can add more or less depending on your spice taste! Stir together
Cook down for 45-60min on medium heat stirring occasionally. The sauce now should be a thick consistency.
Take off heat and add the 2nd tin of coconut milk. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the monkfish with all that beautiful lime juice it was marinating into the sauce and simmer until the fish is cooked through and opaque. (it took me 5 min to cook the fish) Turn the heat off and add some fresh coriander and the spinach.
Take out the rice, squeeze in ½ a lime and a good bunch of roughly chopped coriander and mix well.
And that is it serve up this delicious curry to your family, I promise it will be a hit.