Curry is one of the dishes India brought to Cambodia as well as to many other countries. Curry is often cooked in big amounts for family gatherings and parties. It can be served with rice, fresh Khmer rice noodles or bread. The most common is chicken curry, but we also sometimes cook curry with pork or fish with additional vegetables like onion, yardlong beans and potatoes. However, when it comes to beef it’s not only called curry any more but it is ‘Curry Saraman (Cary Saramann) ‘and it’s a kind of dish inspired by Muslim Cambodians.
The Fish Curry I am about to share with you today is a kind of fusion which uses every ingredient in regular curry, but I cook it differently by making 1/curry sauce and 2/fish separately. So instead one whole big soup which has everything in a pot together, it becomes curry sauce with a golden fish, fresh noodles and raw vegetables. I purposefully want to make it a way that we’ve never seen before. Also, I want to play with some decoration which helps the dish become more attractive, easy to serve and good leftover that can be designed into other dishes.
ការីត្រី – CARY TREI
Preparation time – 45 mins
Cooking time – 20 mins
- Fish fillet: 2kg
- Shrimp paste: 1 tablespoon
- Fish sauce: 1 tablespoon
- Cooking oil: 1 cup
- Dried red chilli: 100g
- Coconut milk: 4 cups
- Garlic: 8 cloves
- Shallots: 6-8 pieces
- Cilantro roots: 6-8 stumps
- Unsalted peanuts: 150g
- Palm sugar: 2 tablespoons
- Cucumber:4-5 pieces
- Banana flower: 1pieces
- Beansprout: 150g
- Pkar Kamploak: 300g
- Pkar Snao: 2 bunches
- Fresh Khmer noodles: 1.5kg
Fish fillet: cut into big chunk about 200-250g
Dried red chilli: remove all seeds, give a quick rinse to wash, soak it in room temperature water for 15 mins and finely mince.
Garlic, shallots, cilantro roots and peanuts: peel garlic and shallots, place them in blender or food processor and process for a minute then add cilantro roots and have it run for another minute. Finally, add peanuts and mix well with the rest for 1.5 minutes.
Cucumber: use peeler to thinly slice and slice it into strips and place in icy water to crisp. Then drain 10 minutes before use.
Banana flower: thinly slice and place in room temperature water with lime juice. Then drain 10 minutes before use.
Beansprout: wash well and drain 10 minutes before use.
Pkar Kamploak and pkar Snao: pick flowers/wash well and drain
Place a medium pot on medium heat then add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in. When the oil is hot put the chilli in and stir until the fragrance is released and the oil becomes a bit dark red. Place a blended mixture of garlic, shallots, cilantro roots and peanuts in and stir until everything becomes one colour then add shrimp paste and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add fish sauce and palm sugar in and mix well. Finally, add coconut milk in and let it boil. Let it cool down and wait for serving time.
Put a non-stick pan on high heat, place the rest of cooking oil in and wait until the oil gets very hot and place fillet fish in and cook about 3-4 minutes each side or until the fish get golden brown then take it out to let the oil drain.
Place small piles of each vegetable, golden crispy fish and fresh Khmer noodles on a plate around a bowl of curry sauce. This will create a very attractive and colourful fish curry you will have never experience before. To eat bring everything to the centre and pour curry sauce on the top. Mix and take a big bite!