If you’re anything like me you’re probably thinking ‘Coley! Why the hell is he using that?’ If you’re anything like me a day ago you’re probably thinking, ‘what the hell is a Coley fish?’ To answer both of our questions Coley is a type of Pollock, which is a member of the Cod family, most commonly sourced from the waters of the North Atlantic. With its white, flaky flesh and light, subtle flavour it’s a perfect ingredient for an Articuleat green curry – not to mention its amazing value for money.
For some reason this delicious, cheap fish has escaped my knowledge more than it has the fishing net, as I was led to believe from my local fish monger that it is an extremely popular fish. Well that explains it! I’ve obviously been walking around with my eyes shut for the past 23 years.
Green curry in Thailand is referred to as ‘kaeng khiao wan’, this essentially means sweet green curry (the spelling of this changes with many translations, this is down to the nature of Thai translation, as their words do not always exactly match ours meaning for meaning).
Traditionally a green curry is as hot as, or hotter than a red curry, with a sweet and salty balance. However, here at Articuleat I like to season my green curry using no palm sugar, I then let it out using a mixture of prawn stock and fresh coconut cream to create a naturally sweet and creamy curry consistency. By making a light prawn stock using the heads and shells of the prawns I can add a delicate, fishy sweetness to this curry which, for me, is a great way to eat it.
Now if you have never made a curry paste from scratch before you are in for a treat. Whatever anyone says I stand by the simple fact that a Thai curry paste made at home, in a pestle and mortar is a far superior product – once you get it right you will slap yourself for buying the preserved, old, flat pastes that can be found in major supermarkets. Get yourself to a good oriental supermarket (in London, Chinatown is a great location to shop the ingredients you’ll need) and you will find all the fresh, Asian produce you need to make an authentic curry paste.
If you would like to find out a little more about making your own curry pastes check out what Andy Oliver has to say about it – He has spent many years cooking and developing Thai cuisine and has a worthwhile perspective on making your own curry pastes.
Now making a good curry paste from scratch is no easy task and take my word for it, be careful. A few years ago if I was reading these words I wouldn’t have listened – but let me tell you now, a face full of pounded chillies is not an experience that I would wish upon even my worst enemies.
Making a paste involves a therapeutic process of pounding each ingredient to a smooth paste individually, then pounding them all together again to make the finished product. It’s a simple but lengthy process which adds a quality to the final product that can be tasted. It takes a lot of patience and an attitude to make things correctly and you will be chowing down on you very own fresh Thai green curry in no time. Right anyway, lets get cooking.
(Serves 2, takes 2-2 ½ hours with plenty of spare curry paste)
(For the green curry paste)
In order to make it a simple process to make in the kitchen I have measured the ingredients within the same sized mug. As long as the quantities are the same in comparison it will work fine.
– ½ mug, fresh birds eye chillies, stems removed
– ¼ mug, fresh long green chillies, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced,
– 1 ½ mugs, banana shallots, peeled, roughly chopped (use Thai shallots if possible)
– 1 ¼ mugs, peeled garlic
– 1 mug, peeled lemongrass, topped and tailed, outside shell removed, sliced into small chunks
– ¼ mug, galingale, peeled and cut into small chunks
– ¼ mug coriander roots, cleaned and finely sliced
– 4 chunks, fresh red turmeric, peeled (watch the hands, this stuff stains)
– 4 chunks, gra chi, peeled and roughly chopped
-1 tbsp, roasted gapi paste (fermented shrimp paste)
-1tbsp, whole white peppercorns, lightly toasted in dry pan
– 2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted in dry pan
– 2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted in dry pan
– 2 pieces, mace, lightly roasted in pan
– Malden sea salt
(For the Curry)
-3 small fillets of Coley fish, roughly 300g, 2 fillets left whole, 1 skinned and chopped into chunks
-200g, fresh prawns, heads, shells and shit sack removed (keep heads to one side to make stock with)
– 150g, thick rice noodles, cooked according to instructions on packet then refreshed in cold water
-80g, baby corn, sliced into thin roll-cuts
– 50g, white daikon, peeled and sliced into thin roll-cuts and braised in water until softened (about 5 minutes)
-3, fresh long red chillies, sliced into roll cuts
-3, fresh long green chillies, sliced into roll cuts
-50g, green beans, topped and tailed, cut into 2cm long chunks
-150g, green curry paste
– 300ml, prawn stock (made from prawn heads)
– 150ml, coconut oil (crack)
– 150ml, coconut cream
-3 pieces gra chi, peeled and thinly sliced
-60g, Thai basil, washed and picked
-60g, coriander, washed and picked
– Fish sauce, to taste
– A little cooking oil
– 1 cheek of lime, for garnish
-Malden sea salt
- Firstly make the green curry paste. Using a pestle and mortar individually pound up all the fresh ingredients separately until they are combined into one complete paste. For example start with the lemongrass, as it is tough – chop it into small chunks to make it easier on yourself then pound using a pestle and mortar until all is mixed into one paste. Next pound the galangal, as it is also tough, using the same process, then the chillies, garlic etc. Once all are pounded individually, combine them in the pestle until one paste.
- Meanwhile toast the spices; however these all toast at different rates so start with the coriander seeds, moving constantly, as soon as they start to smoke a little add the mace and cumin. Keep moving these for one more minute and then add the whole white peppercorns and remove from the heat. The heat from the hot spices is enough to toast the white peppercorns, if they remain on the heat they will pop and explode. Once toasted, spice-grind these spices to a fine powder and pound them into your curry paste. Keep pestle and mortaring away until you are left with a slightly moist, slightly coarse paste, with no identifiable chunks of any ingredients (everything should be equally pounded into a paste – no lumps)
- Right now that’s the hard bit done, now onto the curry. Firstly get all the prawn heads that you collected and add them to 320ml of water. Bring this to the boil and then turn down to a simmer, make sure to skim the scum off the surface of the water, simmer for 20 minutes and then strain. Meanwhile heat the coconut oil in a wok, when bubbling, add the green curry paste and keep stirring regularly until paste begins to split like scrambled eggs – you will also notice that the smell of the ingredients changes from raw, to fragrant. At this point add a little fish sauce and allow to cook into the paste for one minute (don’t add too much as it is strong and you can always add, but never take away)
- Now it’s time to let the curry out. Add 200ml of the prawn stock and 100ml of the coconut cream, the daikon, green beans and baby corn. Stir to combine and then cover and bring to a simmer, cook out for around five minutes until all vegetables are cooked.
- Next drop in the skinless chunks of Coley fish, prawns and the noodles and carefully fold in, at this point the curry would have thickened a little, so finish off the remaining prawn stock and another 50ml of coconut cream. Cook out for two minutes until fish is cooked then add Thai basil, green and red chilli roll-cuts, fish sauce to taste and gra chi, fold these ingredients in carefully as you don’t want to destroy the fish.
- Meanwhile in a small frying pan heat a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil, Rub a pinch of Malden salt on either side of both whole Coley fillets, then place them skin side down in the hot pan. Cook for around 3 minutes on the skin side (until golden brown and crispy) and then finish under a grill for roughly 2 minutes, until fish is piping hot throughout with no clear flesh.
- Serve the curry in a bowl with the crispy pan-fried fillet on top to garnish (this gives a lovely crunchy texture to go with the otherwise soft green curry noodles). Finish the left over coconut cream by drizzling over the top, then garnish with coriander and a cheek of lime. The curry should be thick enough to coat the noodles, rich, creamy, salty, hot and fishy (the magic is in the balance).
I eat this with chopsticks, however traditionally this would be enjoyed with a fork and a spoon – enjoy it however you like.
Thanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.
See you next time,