Curry up for a flavour hit

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - FOOD with Vicki Tay­lor Visit Vicki at Red Hot Chilli Pep­per, 9/65 Bul­cock St, Caloun­dra.

UN­TIL I started in the spice busi­ness (about seven years ago) I didn’t have a par­tic­u­lar go-to curry that I favoured. But­ter chicken was close but as I tried new flavours and spice com­bi­na­tions over the years, that has changed.

There are so many dif­fer­ent styles of cur­ries, which, of course, is all down to the spices in the spice blend. In In­dia, each re­gion has its own style of curry. The south of In­dia pre­dom­i­nantly uses co­conut in their cur­ries whereas the north has more wa­ter-based and tomato-based cur­ries.

So what’s your favourite curry? Is it Sri Lankan, In­dian, Thai or per­haps Malaysian?

At the mo­ment I’m go­ing through an Asian curry phase, with the Cam­bo­dian “amok” spice blend at the top of my list.

Amok means steam-cook­ing a curry (usu­ally fish), tra­di­tion­ally in ba­nana leaves. It is known as Cam­bo­dia’s na­tional dish.

Words can­not de­scribe the amaz­ing flavours of this curry. The spice blend con­tains turmeric, gar­lic, ginger, pa­prika, co­rian­der, cumin and pep­per, which are stan­dard spices in most cur­ries but the in­gre­di­ents that make amok stand out from the crowd are kaf­fir lime leaves and lemon myr­tle leaves. Just yum.

Vicki’s prawn and scal­lop amok curry Serves 6 IN­GRE­DI­ENTS:

500g large green prawns, peeled, tails off

350g scal­lops, washed and clean (roe op­tional) 1 brown onion, peeled and diced

1 tsp good-qual­ity fish sauce

1 tbs palm su­gar

1 tsp salt 1.5 tbs Her­bies Amok spice

1 cup frozen peas

½ cup re­duced salt chicken or fish stock

1 can (400ml) co­conut milk

METHOD: Us­ing a sharp knife, cut the prawns from top to tail, re­mov­ing the vein (don’t cut all the way through). If the scal­lops are huge, cut them in half. In a mor­tar and pes­tle, grinder or food pro­ces­sor, blend onion, su­gar, salt, fish sauce and Amok spice to­gether to make a paste. Heat a fry pan or wok on medium-high heat and cook the paste for two-three min­utes, adding in the stock a bit at a time. Add co­conut milk and bring to a gen­tle sim­mer. Add prawns, scal­lops and peas and cook for about 10 min­utes. Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly. Serve im­me­di­ately with bas­mati rice.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK1

LEAF IT TO ME: Kaf­fir lime leaves are a key in­gre­di­ent of the Cam­bo­dian amok curry.

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