Yesterday was truly the best Sunday I've had in a while. I woke up early, put in a couple of hours at the gym and then returned home to my adoring dog (the way Mojo welcomes me home really makes me feel special) and sleeping husband. It was 1030am!
"Come on," I said, "let's get up, go out and relax."
Yeah, I can be quite a pain in the you-don't-want-to-know-where!
So, it was close to noon when we left the house for some lunch and a walk-about. Lunch was pretty simple fare: rice and Asam Fish Curry for the man and rojak for me. The fish curry received rave reviews that inspired me to make a vegetarian version of the dish for myself for dinner. It isn't unusual for me, you know, thinking about dinner during lunch, thinking about tomorrow's breakfast at dinner. Actually, I think it's a pretty universal habit of food lovers. Right?
So anyway, I got home at 3pm and started mentally planning my curry. There are so many varieties of fish curry (and not-fish curries too): Thai Fish Curry, Indian Fish Curries (for there are many, many varieties types of Indian fish curries, just you go online and see for yourself!), Malaysian fish curries (there are many different types too) ...
The best thing, I concluded, was to look at what I had in my fridge/pantry and only then decide on what type of curry I'd make.
I like my fish curry a little sour. Tamarind would be ideal but I didn't have any in my fridge. I had some lime though so that was fine.
I also love to ladies finger and brinjal in my curry but I had neither. Oh bummer. I made do with long beans and tomatoes. I DON'T like potatoes in fish curry so I didn't add any.
What else? Oh yes! Lemongrass would do quite nicely. I add lemongrass in almost any curry I make, even the dry curries. Other ingredients? Onions, chilli powder, salt, curry leaves, garlic and coconut milk/milk/yoghurt.
Last but the most essential is, of course, the fish or in my case, the fish substitute. If you're familiar with Chinese vegetarian food, you will be familiar with this soy-based fish that comes in a block about two feet long. The soy "fish" is even wrapped in seaweed, which plays the part of the skin.
The curry was delicious and definitely satisfied my cravings. The best part? I have some leftover so my dinner tonight is set!
Vegetarian Not Fish Curry
200g vegetarian fish, sliced
2 tbsp fish curry powder
1/2 cup long beans, cut into 3-4cm pieces
1 tomato, quartered
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 star anise
2 stalks lemongrass (bottom white part only, smashed)
1/2 tbsp lime juice
3 cups water/vegetable stock
1/4 cup milk/coconut milk/yoghurt
salt to taste
a handful of curry leaves
First, dissolve the chilli powder in about 1/3 cup water to make a thick paste. Set aside.
Fry the sliced "fish" till they are just golden. Remove and drain.
Head 3 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry till they soften. Add the garlic , cinnamon and star anise and fry till fragrant. Add the tomatoes and long beans and then the fish. After a couple of minutes, pour in the curry paste and stir so that everything is coated well with the curry.
When the mixture starts bubbling, lower the heat and add the water. If you want to, mix 2 cups stock, with 2 cups water.
Let the curry cook. When it starts to simmer, add the lemongrass, coconut milk and the salt. Squeeze in the lime juice and taste again to see if you need more seasoning. I added a pinch of sugar to temper the heat.
Tear up the curry leaves (it releases more flavour) and add into the curry. Stir and remove from heat.