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Curry shops are for the busy businessman and the hungry traveler a real must. They offer a selection of the most attractive and appetizing food you can think of. This is the Thai version of fast food, even faster than in the west.
So here is a wonderful little lunchtime dish that goes well with yet another bowl of steamy hot rice, that comes of directly from the curry shops common repertoire.
The catfish is crispy deep-fried and lightly toasted in freshly pounded aromatic red curry paste; it is simply seasoned with palm sugar and fish sauce and lifted up with fresh kaffir lime leaves.
This dish is extremely simple to make, with just few basic techniques you are inviting the Thai geniosity of using their of senses into your kitchen.
Stir Fried Crispy Catfish with Spicy Red Curry Paste Recipe
Yield: 3-4 servings
preparation time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
- 1 medium catfish (about 250-300g), cut into 3cm (1.5″) slices
- Neutral taste oil for deep frying
- 1/4 cup fresh holy basil leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh Thai red curry paste
- 1/4 cup water or stock
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 1/3 cup kaffir lime leaves, cut into thin hair thick stripes
- 1 long fresh red chili, cut into julienne strips
- Clean the catfish, cut it into 3cm (1.5″) slices, wash well and dry with paper towels.
- In hot oil, fry the holy basil leaves until crispy. A minute or two will do. Place on a paper towel to drain the oil. Set aside.
- Add more oil, and Deep-fry the catfish on a medium-high heat until golden and crispy. Set aside. Be careful, the oil is happily splattering, I like to use a splatter screen to protect.
- Remove the oil from the wok, and leave just 1-2 tablespoon of oil.
- Add the red chili paste and stir-fry quickly, as a final step of melting together all the flavors of the curry.
- Add about 1/4 cup of water and mix fast, until a thick sauce is formed.
- Season the sauce with fish sauce and palm sugar.
- Taste and adjust flavors. You should remember that commercial pastes are usually more salty than homemade.
- Add the deep fried catfish, and quickly toss it in the curry sauce. Do it quickly to retain its texture. You do not want it to get mushy.
- Add water if too dry, you want to have a wet sauce but not too runny.
- Add half of the amount of kaffir lime and the chilies julienne
- Stir-fry for last 20 seconds.
- Serve and garnish with crispy basil leaves and the rest of the kaffir lime leaves.