Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Fridge Full of Food-- Coconut Fish Curry

It is all in the title! The baby is here and I will be gone in a few days. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of diapers and ditties. Between spending time with the family and singing the Wheels on the Bus to my oh-so-cute niece the days have flown by. Before I leave I want to fill the freezer with goodies so Neale and Jen can be with the babies instead of in the kitchen. 

So we take in the farmer's market with its sumptuous vegetable displays. I walk through rows and rows of rainbow chard, lacinto kale and settle for two pounds of fava beans. My eyes widen when I am asked to pay $2. I must look incredulous but I feel really smug at my good deal. I cannot pass up squash blossoms even though I have some growing in my veggie patch at home. I walk towards the overabundant fruit. Donut peaches, strawberries and white peaches find their way into my satchel. We buy tamales for lunch. I settle on poblano and corn, but snack my way through pork mole and chorizo. They are amazing, fresh masa with spicy fillings. A good lunch jackpot. Any farmer's market on the West Coast is a treasure waiting to be mined! My eyes are bigger than my bag, but I manage to fill my carry-on with fruit, veggies and bread!!

This city by the bay is always a cornucopia of delights. The fog rolls in across the bay, painting the sky purple, lavender, pink and brown. Eucalyptus perfumes the parks. Sandwich shop lines are out the door. Tourist-centric tandem bikes, segway tours, anachronistic double decker buses give the city a Tower of Babel atmosphere. Restaurants that make you salivate before the food gets to your table. Food trucks earn a decent living. Bread tastes like manna from heaven. Light-as-air pastries comport French-Asian flavors. Fruit tastes the way it should. I can extol this city's virtues till kingdom come.

At home I wash, rinse and put away produce. I sprinkle some salt and turmeric on the fish and keep the red snapper aside. I plan to make many little dishes so the parents can defrost and dine. I start with a beef pullao. Caramelized onions, tomatoes and spices along with ground beef make the kitchen sing. Rice steams. I chop some cabbage and corn for a stir fry. A Southwestern spiced pork roasts in the oven. Shephard's Pie sits beside the pork. Chicken marinates in soy sauce. Black-eyed peas bubble alongside cumin spiced potatoes. Between all four burners and the oven the kitchen is flaming hot!

Coconut Fish Curry
Makes 4 servings

1 pound Red Snapper ( about 3 filets )
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 large Onion
3 cloves Garlic
2 coins Ginger
1 green Chile
5 Curry leaves
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Tumeric powder
1 can Coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Garam masala
Cilantro to garnish

Cut the fish filets into thirds, pieces about 2 inches wide. Wash well and pat dry.

Rub turmeric and salt into the fish and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Peel and finely chop onion.

Slice garlic.

Slit the green chile down the middle so you have two long pieces of chile.

Heat oil in a saucepan. 

Add mustards seeds and curry leaves to hot oil. Watch out. There will be spluttering seeds! You could use a splatter guard. But if you have all your ingredients ready it goes real fast.

Add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté  for 3  minutes.

Add turmeric to onions along with coconut milk and salt.

Bring coconut milk to a slow boil for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the fish to milk and gently bring to a simmer. Let fish simmer for 5 minutes at least. 

Sprinkle Garam masala and cilantro over fish and serve with rice. And papad as we do!


Any firm fish filets could be substituted. 

The curry keeps well in the fridge for upto 3 days. It's a good make-ahead dish.

The freezer and fridge are well stocked. It is hotter than hell here. Very unusual for the Bay Area. The two year old chows down on her bowl of pasta and shrimp. I make an unusual choice for dinner--- a beer and a salad!!! Shauna calls it a "college girl" dinner. It doesn't quite have the same connotations though! But it is a refreshing antidote to a hot meal.

I won't miss the ten-second-apart foghorns that wake we in the morning. I will miss the beautiful bay vistas we see driving in the city. I won't miss the cold windy foggy walks to the park. I will miss people-watching from my window perch. I will miss my wonderful niece. I will miss her baby babble and amusing antics. I will miss watching her savor all the goodies in the fridge. She does have a refined palate!!! Most of all I will miss her hugs and kisses. I truly am leaving my heart here in San Francisco.