Sour orange fish curry
SERVES 8 // PREP TIME 30 MINS // COOK 20 MINS
“I think gaeng som is my mum’s favourite curry,” says Anderson. “I became aware of just how much she loves it when, during a holiday to Thailand after not having been back for many years, she ordered this dish at every meal. In Thailand they usually serve curries and soups in a ‘mor fai’ – a sort of aluminium hotpot lit with a gas burner or candle. It keeps the curry hot-hot-hot and mouths burning-burning-burning, but that’s the way Thais like it. It took me a long time to appreciate this as a kid – most of the time it was too hot and spicy for me to enjoy. But now, as an adult, the merits of eating spicy food at hot temperatures in humid conditions is totally something I’m into. Detox! This curry paste makes three times what you need, but it will keep for a month in the freezer.” 100 gm skinless firm white fish, such as snapper, cobia or kingfish
1.125 litres (4½ cups) chicken
250 gm green papaya, peeled, quartered lengthways and cut into large pieces
125 ml (½ cup) tamarind
85 gm (¼ cup) soft palm sugar 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce 16 green king prawns, peeled, deveined, heads and tails intact 2 tbsp lime juice (or to taste) Steamed rice, to serve CURRY PASTE 30 gm fresh red turmeric, coarsely chopped 5-7 dried long red chillies, soaked in cold water
(10 minutes) and coarsely chopped 1½ tbsp dried birdseye chillies, coarsely chopped 50 gm red shallots, coarsely chopped 50 gm wild ginger (see note), coarsely chopped 1¼ tbsp shrimp paste
1 For curry paste, add ingredients to a mortar in order of toughness starting with turmeric, then chillies, shallots, ginger and shrimp paste, pounding until a paste. Keep ⅓ cup curry paste in mortar; the remainder can be frozen.
2 Poach fish in a saucepan of simmering water over medium heat until firm (5 minutes), then cool. Add fish to reserved curry paste and pound with a mortar and pestle to a fine paste.
3 Add stock and fish paste to a small saucepan and bring the boil, stirring, over medium heat. Add papaya, tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and 2 tsp salt, and simmer until papaya begins to turn translucent (12-15 minutes). Add prawns and simmer until opaque (3 minutes). Add lime juice, seasoning to taste, and serve with steamed rice.
Note Wild ginger, also known as krachai or Chinese keys, is available from Thai grocers. Wine suggestion Off-dry, tangy chenin blanc.