Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today Kevin gave me the idea for curry.

We love curry.

The first time we really experienced curry was several years ago - maybe 4 or 5? - when we were living in McKinney and going to school at night in Dallas. We had math class one night and were famished afterwards. We stopped at this little hole in the wall Indian place on Spring Valley at Abram Road which has since been replaced and then replaced again with each-time inferior establishments. We ordered some kind of curry and were sure to tell our kind waiter we wanted it mild. Apparently mild in India is blazing hot in America; as we ate, we couldn't stop sweating and crying and sniffling. But neither could we stop eating. No pain no gain. ;)

Unfortunately some people are so stuck on burgers and chicken and similar boring fare that things like curry are 'gross' or foreign - I don't "do" Indian or Thai or Japanese or whatever. These different foods are certainly not gross, people are just unwilling to try new things. Stop being stubborn! Branch out! Experience new things! Going with what you know or what's easy or safe is simply boring ...

Having said that, I think some people may have to develop a taste for it; the heat can be intense and the aroma is definitely pungent. But the flavor is delicious and complex and proves itself to be a great base for a variety of veggies or meats. Usually, we use chicken (boneless, skinless breasts); once, we used pork (thin-cut chops). Sometimes we throw in pineapple, fresh cherries, peas, green bell pepper. But we've never used salmon til tonight and it turned out wonderfully.

1/2 onion (white or yellow), diced
2-3 T curry paste  - I mixed green and red curry paste together.
1/3 head cauliflower, bite size
2 T fish sauce - Again, not exactly a nosegay but the flavor is great! Asian markets are good for items like this, as well as inexpensive coconut milk and a few items you have probably never seen before.
1 can coconut milk
2 c water
1/2 c frozen green peas
1 can diced or crushed pineapple - I had a can of diced on hand and ended up chopping it down a bit more.
2 salmon fillets (honestly though, use whatever protein you like best or have on hand)
2 T corn starch in 1/2 a cup of liquid (made after you've combined the above ingredients)
2 pinches (whatever those are!) salt

2 c rice (Jasmine is best)
a few lemon wedges for later
red and green curry pastes; a bottle of fish sauce

Soften the onion in butter and olive oil then add the curry pastes and break it up into the onions, letting it bubble and hiss a little. Don't breathe through your mouth - you'll probably start coughing if you do. ;) Splash in the fish sauce.

After a couple minutes, add the cauliflower and coat in the curry paste; then add the coconut milk and water. Let it heat through and simmer for a few minutes. Add in the peas and diced pineapple and simmer for a few more minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the salmon. Actually you could pan sear or bake - whatever. Just let it cook for a short time since fish doesn't need long; plus, the next step is to ...

Poach the salmon in the curry sauce for several minutes minutes, letting it bubble.

freshly poached and infused with coconut milk and curry
While this is happening, have a pot of rice going: 2 cups of rice, 4 cups of water; high heat til boiling, then down to medium til soft. Stir it from time to time since Jasmine seems to stick a little - or maybe I'm just no good at making rice!

Once the curry sauce has bubbled for a few minutes with the salmon, lift the fish out and set it aside. Prepare the corn starch, pour it into the sauce and stir - add more if you like it thicker. Remove from heat.

Yay! Time to eat! Top a bed of rice with a salmon fillet and a generous drizzle of the curry sauce (more like 2 ladles full!), then squeeze on a wedge of lemon juice. Don't forget a glass of Pinot Grigio! (always great with salmon and just sweet enough to cool the heat of the curry.)

sooo good

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