Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Moonfish with Curry Leaves, Ginger, and Asparagus

Spring is here, and with it comes green garlic, red spring onions, asparagus, and memories of our trip to Maui. Throw those together in a pan over medium heat, and you get this.

Olive oil
1 tsp chopped red spring onion or shallot
1 tbsp chopped green garlic
1 bunch asparagus, sliced at an angle into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb moonfish (opah)
8-10 fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp julienned fresh ginger (slice thinly, then slice crosswise)
1/4 cup coconut milk

Heat a pan over medium heat. When hot, add a glug of olive oil. Add the asparagus, onion, and a bit of the green garlic, and saute, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Cover, turn down the heat, and let cook for 1-5 minutes longer (depending on how thick the stalks are) until al dente, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt, then transfer into a bowl and set aside.

Add another glug of olive oil to the pan, and return the heat to medium. Press a few curry leaves onto
one side of the fish, and then flip leaf-side down into the pan. Press curry leaves onto the upward side of the fish as well, and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook until the bottom of the fish is golden brown, then flip, and cook the other side till golden brown as well.

Add a little more olive oil, the rest of the green garlic, curry leaves, and ginger to the side of the pan and saute, stirring, for about a minute or until the garlic softens but before it browns. Add the coconut milk and a splash of water, stir to combine with the garlic ginger mixture, and then add the asparagus back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the fish is almost but not quite cooked through, then immediately turn off the heat.

Serve over jungle rice. (The heat of the rice will finish cooking the fish on the way to the table).

Serves 2.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jungle Rice

If you think of rice as a plain old staple—something to plop down on your plate as a generic staging ground for a hunk of chicken or slab of fish—think again. Or better yet, stop thinking and just make this.

Pairs wonderfully with seared fish, sauteed bok choy, grilled garlic shrimp, avocado tossed with cilantro, ripe mango, and probably anything else you might find yourself cooking with Hawaiianesque ingredients (we named it "Jungle Rice" in honor of the little patch of Maui jungle in which we were staying when we first cooked it). And it's flexible—if you're missing something like pistachios, you can substitute cashews (or just leave the nuts out). If you don't have curry leaves or coconut milk, it will still turn out quite well (though make sure you add enough water to replace the liquid from the coconut milk). And you can make it with other kinds of rice as well (we just discovered that Madagascar pink rice is particularly delicious in this recipe...just make sure to adjust the water and cooking time for the type of rice you use).

Olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
4 fresh curry leaves
2 tbsp shelled pistachios (roasted is even better)
1 scant cup black Forbidden rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk, plus a couple spoonfuls to drizzle over the top if desired

Heat a glug of olive oil in a smallish pot over medium heat. Add the shallot, curry leaves, and pistachios and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the shallot softens. Add the rice and saute for 1-2 minutes more. Stir in the water and coconut milk, cover, and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 23 minutes or until the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is tender.

Serve hot, with a little coconut milk drizzled over the top.

Serves 2-3.