Moving from China to Malaysia was a bit of a change with its fresh (clean) air, warm climate and uncensored internet. One of the best things about the move to Malaysia was experiencing the food here: Indian, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, fresh seafood, spice! As opposed to living in Beijing where I had to trek across town for decent pad thai and murg kadai, most of what I craved could easily be found just around the corner. No longer did I have to scavenger hunt around the city for spices but instead just pop across the street to my local grocery store where EVERYTHING was available. Don’t get me wrong, I still amass spices and get a little crazy when it comes to fresh kaffir limes and lemongrass but overall, I feel less of a desperate need to hoard.
Another perk of moving to Malaysia was a change in our diet where we had the luxury of buying and eating more seafood. Every month, I order and stock up on freshly frozen fish for my freezer making about half of what we eat seafood based. I’ve dipped halibut in beer batter and fried to a crispy perfection, breaded hake in cajun spice and breadcrumbs to make fish fingers, but overall my favorite method of cooking fish is to poach it in a spicy broth. Since I live in the spice abundant tropical country of Malaysia, I am spoiled for choices and inspiration. For this though, I’ll use one of my favorite flavors of all time: thai yellow curry.
This recipe is fairly simple and can be thrown together relatively quickly for a quick weeknight dinner or if you want to impress guests with a beautiful and colorful plate of food. You can use your favorite thai curry paste or use a homemade curry paste if you are ambitious. Served with jasmine rice and a spicy papaya salad for delicious and visually stunning feast.
6 tbsp thai yellow curry paste (use your favorite curry paste or try mine)
600ml/2.5 cups water
400 ml/13.5oz coconut milk
1 medium potato (peeled and diced into 2cm/1in cubes)
300-350g/10.5-12oz boneless fillets of firm white fish such as hoki (blue grenadier) or hake
1 small red bell pepper (cut into thin strips)
1 small yellow pepper (cut into thin strips)
1-3 tsp fish sauce (season to taste)
1-3 tsp sugar (season to taste)
chopped scallions or cilantro for garnishing (optional)
Combine curry paste, water and coconut milk in a large skillet or wok. Bring to a boil and add chopped potatoes. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and let cook for 5 min. Next, add fish to the curry and let cook on a medium simmer for 5-10 min or until fish has cooked through but it not falling apart. Add thinly sliced strips of bell peppers to the curry mix and cook for 1-2 min. The bell peppers should be half way between raw and cooked with a bit of a crunch to them.
Take off heat, garnish with either scallions, cilantro or a mixture of both. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.