Coconut Curry Whitefish with Tropical Fried Rice
From Avec Eric
Hi. My name is Tera, and I am prone to panic attacks. Not the medically diagnosable, real thing panic attacks, but rather utterly irrational, self-induced minor freakouts. And this past week I have really been on my game.
As I mentioned last month, I recently completed my masters degree in nutrition. However, to become a Registered Dietitian – the required credential for practicing nutrition in hospitals and many other settings – I still needed to pass the registration exam for dietitians. My new job starts on Monday and I nonchalantly told my new boss that I was positive I would pass, no big deal.
Sometimes I say things.
Anyhow, John and I came up with the brilliant idea a few months back that we would live at his parent’s winter home in Marco Island, Florida for 3 weeks after Christmas so that I could study without the distractions of home. I’m just not sure we took into account the distractions of Florida.
Such as this:
And let’s not forget this…
You get my point. So after two weeks of very conservative studying, the test, which I had scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, was suddenly 3 days away. Enter: panic attack #1. The lovely Marco Island library is closed on weekends, meaning 2/3 of my last study days weren’t even at the library. By the time Monday came around I was in full scale panic. I went to the library from open to close, and then shakily rode my bike home at 7pm to find my fabulous husband all ready with dinner….plans. He found this amazing looking recipe, but he hadn’t even gone grocery shopping yet, nonetheless started cooking. I tried to play it cool, but by the time we made it to the grocery store parking lot I lost it. John, quite familiar with my little episodes at this point, saved the day by suggesting we make the fish for lunch after my test and just grab something easy for dinner. And that is how I came to eat frozen pizza and Velveeta mac and cheese the night before taking a test that proves I’m a nutrition expert. Sweet sweet irony (or in this case, salty processed irony).
Panic attacks #2-#100 ensued over the course of the next 15 hours or so, including 4 during the exam, which froze and shut down on me 4 times throughout the test. (A sincere apology goes out to the testing center employees who had to deal with me…I swear, not all dietitians are crazy [just most of us]). In the end, as you may have guessed by now, I passed. Not by a landslide, that’s for sure, but that’s the beauty of pass/fail exams. And I remedied my pre-exam nutrition disaster with this amazing lunch when I got home. Cheers to delicious, naturally healthy, home cooked food [most of the time]!
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp ginger, minced
- 3 Tbsp green onion, sliced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and cored, diced
- 1/2 cup apple, diced
- 1/4 cup banana, diced (don’t buy an overripe banana or it will be hard to dice without mushing it up)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- hot paprika, to taste (or regular paprika plus a little cayenne)
- cilantro, chopped, to taste
Coconut Curry Sauce and Snapper
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced (we could only find a tube of lemongrass paste, so we used 2 tsp lemongrass paste)
- 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 tsp Madras curry powder
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 4 (6 oz each) whitefish filets (the recipe calls for snapper, we used hogfish, I think most whitefish would work)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned
- Place the rice in a small saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the rice to a boil over high heat, once boiling lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Place a tight fitting lid on the pan, remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes. Spread out and let cool. (If we had been at home, we probably would have used our rice cooker instead, just because we’re lazy – I’m sure results would have been the same).
- To make the curry sauce, heat the canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Saute until softened.
- Add the Thai curry paste and curry powder and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes, until lightly reduced.
- Add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Remove the curry sauce from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a large high-walled saute pan.
- Season the snapper filets generously with salt. Place the fish into the saute pan with the sauce and cook the fish over medium heat, until it is just warm in the center and flakes easily (6-8 minutes). Baste the fish occasionally with the sauce while cooking.
- While the fish is cooking make the fried rice. Heat a large non-stick pan with olive oil over high heat. Add the ginger, green onions and jalapenos to the pan and toss quickly until fragrant. Add the rice, apple, banana, raisins and almonds and season to taste with salt, pepper, hot paprika and cilantro. Be sure to taste after seasoning and re-season if necessary (ours needed a lot of salt).
- Serve the snapper over a bed of rice, top with any extra sauce and sprinkle with basil.