Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fish Belly (Tai Pla) Curry


Fish Belly Curry

I was ecstatic to find the fish belly curry at the temple, for I've been craving for this dish for so long. My plan was to add coconut milk, grilled fish, and some veggies to it like the way mom does. I was daydreaming about it all the way home.

Fish Belly CurryBut then I became crestfallen as soon as I opened the container. The curry was too thin and not spicy at all. Adding more ingredients to it would dilute it way too much...

'Crestfallen' - When an English teacher of mine taught his class this word, he said that when the rooster's crest (or comb) falls, that rooster looks very sad. Thus, the meaning of the word Crestfallen is sad or disappointed.

Tai Pla SauceAs the thirst that must be quenched, my craving must be fulfilled. The fish belly sauce that Oy sent me was sitting there calling, "Use me! Use me!"
Fine! I'll cook it myself!

Curry Paste
35-40 Dried chili pepper; soaked in water
Curry Paste Ingredients1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Galanga root; chopped
2 tbsp. Lemongrass; chopped
1 tsp. Kaffir lime zest
5 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Shallot; chopped
1 tbsp. Tumeric powder
1 tsp. White pepper
1 tbsp. Shrimp paste

- The recipe said crush everything with pestle and mortar, but unless you have a heavy one, use the food processor. Though, the paste might not be as smooth as would be with the mortar, but that's no big deal. I used the processor, too, but it's just my laziness. Hehehe...
- Crush the chili peppers with the salt first. Then add galanga, lemongrass, garlic, and white pepper. Crush well.
- Add shallot crush some more. Now it will start to get sticky. Use the spoon to push it down (or shake it as I did...) often.

Curry Paste- Transfer the mixture into a bowl and then mix in tumeric powder and shrimp paste. This way, your food processor wouldn't turn yellow and stinky... like mine...

Fish Belly Curry
Chili paste as above
1 can Mae Ploy Coconut milk... 1 1/2 can if other brand
3 tbsp. Fish belly (Tai Pla) sauce
2 cups Grilled Mackerel; throw away bones
1 Potato; cut in big chunks
2 cups Thai eggplants; quartered
2 cups Long beans; cut into 2-inch long
4-5 Kaffir lime leaves

Grilled Mackerel

- Do not shake the coconut milk. Open the can and scoop the thick top in a large pot. Put on medium high heat and mix in the chili paste. Stir until it gives strong aroma (but good... or not?!?)
- Add fish belly sauce and cook until it smells reeeally good... hahaha
- Add the rest of coconut milk, mackerel, potato, eggplants, long beans, and kaffir lime leaves. Add water to desired thickness. Let boil and then simmer until the potato is cooked.
- Serve with fresh longbeans, napa cabbage, steamed rice, and fried eggs... ohhhh so heavenly...

As mentioned, this curry smells really strong while cooking. If you don't have a separate or closed kitchen, I'd recommend cooking outside so that it won't stink your whole house. BBQ grill or picnic stove works well... just watch for the bottles thrown by the neighbours... Hahahahah... Good luck!



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