Visiting Vietnam was like stepping into a movie set, it was everything that I imagined it to be. Paddy fields and people riding bikes wearing white cone shaped hats!
Wandering through the food markets was fascinating, but the greatest memories are of the vendors, mostly female, always smiling and when business was slow, would lie on a shelf and take a nap! If only we could all work and just nap when we needed to!
Vietnamese food is distinctive within the region and I visited the South where the food has is generally sweeter. It is not always spicy. They use many herbs and when at a recent food festival I saw a Vietnamese cilantro (coriander) plant for sale on a herb stand, I snapped it up alongside a Thai basil plant, eager to incorporate it into my cooking.
This fish curry makes good use of the cilantro plant, with its warm orange blossom aromas giving way to a beautifully and delicately flavored sauce. Its also a very fast dish to make, as is often the case with Asian food, but a great one for weekday supper! Its also great for a lazy weekend day where you want good food but don’t want to put in the effort. We served it over high protein noodles, but you could serve it over your choice of noodles or rice.
WINE NOTE: Voignier is the perfect match to this dish with the fruity flavors enhancing the cilantro, while holding its own against the slight spiciness of the sauce. We chose a Chilean Riversong Voignier from Laithwaites, which is well balanced with lychee and apricot flavors.
1 can chicken broth (or 250ml of chicken stock)
1 can coconut milk- regular or light
1-2 tbsp of red curry paste
2 quarter size slices of fresh ginger
2 tbsp sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 cup of Vietnamese cilantro leaves
1/2 cup of beansprouts
4 oz /115g of deveined raw shrimp (king prawns)
4 oz/115g of cleaned squid
4 oz/115g of firm white fish
In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk the broth, coconut milk and curry paste until boiling. Add the ginger, sugar and lime juice and reduce heat to simmer. Add teh Vietnamese cilantro and the beansprouts, continuing to cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the seafood. Let the residual heat cook the fish 3-5 minutes, until it is opaque.
Serve immediately over cooked noodles or rice.