Archive for June 4th, 2010

This Far Eastern inspired, slightly spiced fish stew gives a nod to the Pacific islands with its coconut-creaminess.  It is easy to make and full of colour and flavour.  Although it originally appeared in a Winter, January, issued magazine it would be just as good served in the summer months. 

The original recipe called South Pacific Fish came from the ASDA supermarket free instore magazine, January 2009 issue.  I made a few adaptations for my version.  The original lists a tin of chopped tomatoes with chilli and peppers: I used a plain tinned tomatoes and added a red and green pepper, chopped and a small chilli (a larger chilli can be added for hotter dish).  In place of the can of coconut milk I used 50g of creamed coconut (grated from a block) with a little water: the first time I made it I used ½pint of water but this made the sauce too watery.  The next time I used just ¼pt, reasoning that I could always add a little more water if it was too dry.  It is important to avoid having to reduce the liquid as the fish can easily be overcooked.  I added a few prawns in place of some of the white fish to add variety.  I also added a few diced okra and their sticky juices helped to thicken the stew a little, but they are not really necessary and certainly should not be cooked for too long if used.   The original recipe had 75g chopped macadamia nuts scattered over as it was served, but I did not feel this was really necessary – and anyway there were none in my cupboard.  This dish would be delicious with chicken substituted in place of the fish.

Vegetarian variation: in place of the fish, add a tin of chick peas or red kidney beans and chunks of green banana 5-10 minutes before serving.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

South Pacific Fish Stew
(Serves 4)

2tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 de-seeded green chilli, finely chopped
2.5cm/1inch piece of root ginger, peeled & grated
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground turmeric
450g/1lb sweet potato
50g grated creamed coconut
¼pint boiling water
400g/14oz can of plum tomatoes, liquidised or chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced (optional – omit if adding okra or another vegetable)
225g/8ozs okra, cut into small rings
450g/1lb white fish, skinned & cut into large chunks
110g/4ozs small prawns (optional – reduce white fish amount slightly if using)
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped – to serve
Finely chopped, de-seeded red chilli – to serve (optional – for heat lovers)

1.  Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion until soft.  Add the garlic, ginger and chopped chilli.  Continue to cook for another minute.  Stir in the ground coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring, over a low heat for a further minute.

2.  Peel the sweet potato just as it is about to be used (so it does not blacken).  Cut them into 2.5cm/1inch chunks.  Add to the onion mixture and stir so they are well coated. 

3.  Dissolve the grated creamed coconut in the boiling water (alternatively use a 400ml can of coconut milk as in the original recipe). 

4.   Stir in the coconut milk, well chopped or liquidised tomatoes and peppers and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until the potato pieces are nearly cooked.

5.  Add the chunks of fish, plus the prawns and okra, if using, and simmer the mixture gently for 5 minutes more.  To avoid breaking up the fish pieces, from this point onwards the pan should be shaken rather than stirred but watch carefully that the heat is not too high causing the bottom of the stew to burn.  If the mixture seems dry then a little more boiling water can be added, but be careful not to add too much.

6.  When it is ready to serve, the sauce in the stew should be slightly thick, with any okra used helping to thicken the sauce.

6.  Serve on a bed of rice.  Garnish with a generous scattering of chopped coriander leaves.  Finely chopped red chilli can also be added for those who would like the extra heat.

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