This is one of those family favorites I hope my children will remember fondly when they're living in their first apartments. You know -- the one that makes them want to come home on Sunday afternoons. It was inspired by a lovely soup my friend Rachel served at a dinner party a few years ago, although she labels hers Brazilian, I believe, rather than Thai.
My 10-year-old son Emery made dinner with me tonight. He's getting quite good at the stove. This is definitely an easy enough recipe for kids to help.
Thai fish stew
- 1 lb mixed fish, cut into largish cubes (tonight I used tilapia because that's what I had, but often the mix I use includes salmon, swordfish and tuna)
- 1 lb shrimp, any size
- juice of 6 big limes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp Thai red or yellow curry paste (optional, but it adds a nice flavor and some heat)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 8 oz chicken stock
- large amounts of chopped scallions, cilantro and basil
- Leftover cooked rice (optional)
Mix the seafood, lime juice, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Let sit 15 minutes. This will firm up the flesh of the seafood, as in a ceviche, so it doesn't fall apart as quickly in the stew.
Saute the onion and bell peppers in a little olive oil in a big heavy pot for about five minutes, until they are just starting to soften. Add the garlic and stir briefly. Add the curry paste and tomato paste and stir briefly again, until they are dissolved and have coated the vegetables. Then add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and fish with the marinating liquid. If you've got leftover cooked rice in the refrigerator, add it now -- it will add some body to the stew.
Bring to a gentle boil, turn down the heat, and simmer about 10 minutes, or until the fish and shrimp are just done. Add the scallions and herbs, stir, and serve. If you like more acid, add a little more lime juice at the end, or lemon juice if, like me, you never have enough limes on hand.
Serves at least six, with leftovers for the next day (and yes, it gets better with age).