Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Do-Over-Dinner: Thai Curried Fish Chowder

I can't believe I'm even going to admit this.

I'm a Maine-r and I've never made fish chowder (or, more appropriately said, "chow-dah"). Shocking, right?

Truth is, I'm not a huge fan of it. Don't get me wrong, I won't refuse (and, I'll probably even really enjoy) a really good chowder. But, the really good ones are few and far between.

But, I decided it was time to learn to make my own fish soup or chowder. I mean, goodness, I have fresh fish at my doorstep and I love soup...what is holding me back?

So I purchased some really fresh chowder pieces from Port Clyde Fresh Catch (at the Bath Farmer's Market -- but you can also order online) and decided to try my hand at a Thai Curry Fish Chowder. But, remember, I live in Bath, Maine. And, while this town has many wonderful things to offer, an ethnic supermarket is not one of them. So, naturally, I couldn't find all the ingredients I needed for any of the recipes I found. So, my recipe, which one do-over status, involved a whole lot of improvisation.

Maine-ly Home's Thai Curry Fish Chowder

What You Need:
  • 1 tablespoon live oil
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons green curry paste (start with 2, add another -- or more - for more spice)
  • 3/4 cup fish stock (I bought it in a box - but your fish counter might sell their own.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cans (~13 oz each) of coconut milk (I used one "light" one regular.)
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 handfuls of snow pea pods
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb of fish, cut in small chunks (my fish was haddock)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped finely
  • salt, to season
  • a wedge of lime
What to Do:
  • Heat oil in dutch oven (or a saucepan with a thick bottom) over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant (20 seconds-ish).
  • Add green onion. Saute 1 minute, stirring frequently (to prevent burning).
  • Once garlic is browned, add a large spoonful of the coconut cream (don't shake the can - just open and the coconut cream will be separated).  Melt.
  • Add in green curry paste. Stir and cook approximately 3 minutes. The fragrance is amazing!
  • Add the rest of the coconut cream and "milk" (the watery part), water and stock.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Add in fish. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add in carrot. Cook another 5 minutes.
  • Check fish for "done-ness".
  • Add in pepper, snowpeas, basil, mint and lime juice. Simmer 1 minute.
  • Serve over jasmine rice.

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