I have learnt from previous experience that food shopping under the influence of alcohol is a Bad Idea ... but having accidentally consumed too much beer I found myself wandering the aisles of Asda in Clapham Junction at midnight on Tuesday, searching for inspiration for last night's ≤ten. I'd been meeting Lu out east for her new Mister's gig at the Slaughtered Lamb ... I can recommend both the music and the man himself. Top marks.
Anyway, the resultant malteaser-fuelled shopping trip yielded a supper of coconut poached salmon, pak choi and jasmine rice. Which ended up a little something like this ...
Coconut poached salmon ... for 8
2 tins coconut milk
small cup water
1.25kg salmon fillets cut into large cubes
2 stalks lemongrass roughly cut diagonally
2 inch piece of galangal roughly sliced
4 cloves garlic peeled and roughly sliced
big pinch of sugar
4 small red chillis chopped
handful of basil leaves (it should be thai basil really, but I had some ordinary stuff spare so in it went)
5 kaffir lime leaves
juice of two limes
3 tbsp thai fish sauce
handful chopped fresh coriander
Infuse the coconut milk with the lemongrass, galangal, garlic and sugar in a large pan - I had this just beneath bubbling for about 20 minutes
Add the kaffir lime leaves and the chillli, and infuse for a further 10 mins - to be honest, we were waiting for latecomers, so I must have had this going for about 45 minutes in total, but less is fine
When you're good to go, put the rice on, and at the same time add the fish, the lime juice and the fish sauce to the coconut milk
Bring it up to a simmer, keep an eye on it adding a little more water if you need to ... and it should be ready by the time the rice is cooked and drained. Throw into the chopped coriander and you're there.
It's hardly worth writing a recipe for the pak choi - 2tbsp sesame oil in the wok, four finely sliced cloves of garlic ... once the oil is hot, add the pak choi which is cut into thick ribbons (I think I used five heads, two red and three green). It'll only take five minutes, so if you're making the full menu then just start it off once the salmon is poaching.
In theory it should be hot, sour and salty. I'd been expecting a non-meat eating contingent, hence the salmon, but I think chicken could probably stand up to the flavours a little better. I'll confess the quantities were a little off, had the late (and brave) addition to our party not already eaten a starter I think we might have struggled, as it was there was just enough to go round nine.
Apart from the slightly mean portions, the night was lovely, plenty of catching up ... a small amount of grilling, and some very kind gifts from my guests.