This dish turned out exactly as I had pictured it...and was a perfect light, slightly spicy and very satisfying meal. The best thing about it was that the fish was the only thing that wasn't "almost wasted". I bought it to serve with the things I needed to use...a cut lime, half a red and half a yellow pepper, some leftover cooked rice, a green onion and half a white onion, coconut milk and chicken stock.
I combined the Thai red curry paste with some breadcrumbs and this made a lovely crunchy, spicy crust for the flaky, moist halibut. I served the fish on top of the rice, and poured the broth around it, in effect creating a sauce / soup that was seasoned even more by the crust on the fish.
To make the broth, start by cooking over a low heat in a bit of olive oil:
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
When the onions are starting to become translucent, add:
1 lime, cut into slices
1 slices of fresh ginger, about 1/8" thick
3 cloves garlic, roughly sliced
3 dried curry leaves
Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning; I added some salt and pepper.
While the broth is simmering, make the crust for the halibut by rubbing together with your fingertips:
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
drizzle of olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon Thai red curry paste
Turn the oven on to heat to 400F.
Place the halibut into an ovenproof dish, and gently press the crust onto the top of the fish.
Bake until the fish is cooked and the crust is crispy; about 12 - 15 minutes.
Before serving, remove the slices of ginger, the curry leaves, and if you choose to, the lime slices from the broth. Make sure the broth is piping hot. Stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.
Place a heaped spoonful of rice into the centre of each serving bowl, mounding it up to leave a space around it for the broth.
Carefully divide the broth between the bowls, pouring it around the rice. The broth will heat the rice.
Gently place a piece of fish on top of the rice.
Sprinkle green onion over the broth.
I garnished the bowls with a couple of nice long fresh chives. Serve with a spoon and a fork, as both will be needed.
- Despite the fact that I had finished the soy sauce, and had no fish sauce, the broth was very tasty, and only needed a small amount of salt at the end. I went easy on the pepper because of the red curry paste.
- If you have soy sauce or fish sauce, either one would be a good addition to the broth, and will take care of the salty part of the seasoning. Do not add a lot; taste and add more as needed.
- Yes, I used chicken stock, but in combination with all the other flavours it was not noticeable. Of course, vegetable or fish stock, or all coconut milk can be used.
- The broth can be made a day ahead, and re-heated when you are ready to serve the fish.
- The rice I had was basmati; any leftover rice can be used. By adding the piping hot broth and then topping it with the hot fish, the rice heats through very quickly.
- Noodles can be used instead of rice if you want.
- The Thai red curry paste adds moisture and flavour to the breadcrumbs; feel free to add more if you want more heat. As you eat the fish, little bits of the crust break off into the broth and add another layer of flavour to it.
- I used halibut; you can use any firm white fish, including jumbo scallops. The crust could also be used on chicken breast.
- My husband is not a fan of cilantro, but I am, and I know that some finely chopped cilantro would really add to the freshness of the broth. If you do add it, do so only at the end, with / instead of the basil, to maintain the bright, fresh flavour.