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Leo Gong Photo by: Leo Gong

Thai Red Curry Fish Stew

Light coconut milk works well in this fish stew, and prepared Thai red curry paste, found in most supermarkets, makes it a snap to put together.

Sunset OCTOBER 2007

  • Yield: Makes 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups of curry and 1 cup of rice)
  • Total: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large sweet potato (often labeled
  • 2 cans (13 1/2 oz. each) light coconut milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (see Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest (green part only; see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm fish fillets, such as halibut or tilapia
  • 6 ounces fresh whole spinach leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • Lime wedges

Preparation

1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice and salt. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes, then turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

2. Meanwhile, bring 1 in. of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Peel sweet potato and cut into 1/2-in. cubes. Put in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. While sweet potato is cooking, spoon about 1/4 cup from top of coconut milk in each can (the thick opaque layer) and put in a 4- to 5-qt. pot or deep sauté pan. Add curry paste and whisk until smoothly blended. Stir mixture over medium heat until nearly dry, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add remaining coconut milk, lime zest, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Simmer 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, cut fish into 1 1/2-in. cubes. Increase heat to medium; add fish and spinach. Cover and cook until fish is no longer translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

6. Chop basil and mint and stir into stew along with sweet potato cubes. Serve with rice and lime wedges.

Variations:

Chicken: Substitute boned, skinned breast for the fish. Cut into 1/4- by 1/2- by 2-in. strips to ensure quick cooking.

Pork: Use tenderloin in place of the fish, trimming fat and cutting meat into 1/4-in.-thick strips.

Swap the greens: Try green Swiss chard instead of spinach: Thinly slice stems and steam with sweet potato in step 2; thinly slice the leaves and add with fish in step 5.

Make it bountiful: Add chopped zucchini or other summer squash, green beans, thinly sliced red pepper, or slivered sweet onion to the sweet potato for the last 5 minutes of steaming time.

Switch the starch: Yukon Gold potatoes work nicely in place of sweet potato and have a similar cooking time.

Note:

The spice level in prepared red curry pastes varies depending on the brand, so taste before using. Start with 2 tbsp., then increase it if you like. For a more authentic flavor, add 1 tbsp. minced lemon grass and 2 makrut (Kaffir) lime leaves instead of the grated lime zest in step 4, and use Thai basil instead of regular. Find these ingredients at Asian markets and in specialty-produce departments.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 707
  • Calories from fat: 17%
  • Protein: 38g
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 5.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 113g
  • Fiber: 4.9g
  • Sodium: 965mg
  • Cholesterol: 36mg
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Thai Red Curry Fish Stew Recipe

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