Rejoice, ye lovers of fresh cod, and be glad, O connoisseurs of Thai curries, for today the two are one! For behold, the marriage of these two fine foods has come to pass, and there was much feasting.
Okay, that’ll be enough of that nonsense. The point is that this one-skillet dish pulls together one of my favorite varieties of fresh fish with the rich, spicy goodness of a creamy Thai red curry over a hearty bed of rice and vegetables, finished with a note of bright citrus.
This recipe will feed 4 hearty souls with probably a bit leftover:
- 2 tbsp. peanut oil
- 1 ½ cups long-grain rice
- 8 oz. white button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 can (8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots
- 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 3-4 green onions
- 2 ¼ cups water or unsalted chicken stock
- Fine sea salt and white pepper to taste
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp. red curry paste
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs. skinless cod loins, cut into 2” chunks
- Lime wedges for garnish
A quick note about your knife work: separate the whites of the onions from the green tops. Slice the whites into rounds, and then slice the green tops on the bias, as these latter will be part of your decorative garnish.
In a large straight-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium flame, then add the rice, mushrooms, bamboo, ginger and onion whites, and sauté for about 2 minutes until the mushrooms begin to sweat and the ginger becomes aromatic. Add the water or stock, along with a generous pinch of salt, bring it to a boil, then back the heat down to low.
Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, whisk together the coconut milk and curry paste in a bowl. Pat the cod pieces dry with paper towels, and season them with salt and pepper. When the rice mixture has finished its cook time, arrange the cod pieces on top, drizzle with about half the curry sauce, then cover the skillet again.
Continue to cook on low heat until the cod is tender and flaky, about 10-15 minutes depending on how thick your cuts are. If you’re not sure, temp it with your instant read thermometer to 140°. When it’s done, sprinkle the onion greens on top, and plate it up.
The extra sauce is available for drizzling, and a squirt of fresh lime juice creates the perfect acidic finish. We both enjoyed this immensely, doubly so because it falls within my definition of a healthy meal. Rather predictably, we munched it down with a big happy grin on our face. Give it a try and experience the joys of home-made Thai cuisine. Until next time: Eat well, my friends!