Oriental gastronomy, beyond chinese and indian cuisine, has been a late addition in my life. I've done my round of the local chinese restaurants because they were cheaper, and well, quite frankly I do like chinese food, the one they cook for the non chinese as well as the real thing; and indian food, I owe that to my sister who has always been fascinated by India. But if we are going to talk about vietnamese food, thai cuisine, korean gastronomy, and Sri Lanka's curries, well, I knew nothing about these up 'till I became really hooked on Masterchef Australia - come on, is there any other Masterchef worth watching? Nope. - with their wide array of gastronomical influences. I may also thank the internet and instagram (it remains my biggest source of visual influence and inspiration, even when it comes to food ideas) and pinterest as well. I discovered ramen on Dylana Suarez' instagram account, as well as pho, and I got soooo hooked on both dishes (they are quite similar in their basis) that at a certain point in my life I was watching silly movies just because they were kind of about ramen cooking. And when the cold weather hits I still love cooking myself some ramen and pho.
And then one day I discovered the thai curry pastes. It was on a trip to a chinese supermarket in the center of Lisbon - we take two to three annual trips to chinese supermarkets and stock up on anything from noodles, and they carry my fave soba noodles so yay!! to ready made frozen dim sum pasties, that we just adore, dried shitake mushrooms, soy, oyster and fish sauce, sesame seeds and oil, and the curry pastes - that we saw the plastic containers with various thai curry pastes and decided to give them a go. The first one we tried was red curry paste, which is quite quite hot - a plus for me! - and savoury. Then we brought home the green curry paste, of which I seem to be the only fan, it is quite tart and spicy, goes so well with white fish and veggies, I love to cook lentils in it. The latest discovery was the massaman curry paste, a thai interpretation of Malay curries. Honestly, this is THE best curry paste ever, it makes THE best curry in the world, and goes well with everything, from veggies to chicken to fish. It is also quite mild, but with a depth of flavour that will leave you salivating even after you're full.
So, in order to make this curry you will need some salmon filets, or any other kind of fish you prefer, though I really advise the salmon, if you haven't tried a salmon curry you ain't lived yet! cut in medium chunks. Dice an onion, a leek and two garlic cloves really fine and stir fry them until tender on a little bit of oil. You can use any kind of oil, I do it in a mix of sesame and grape oil, so as to not be overwhelming with the sesame to the point it really drowns out the salmon. After the veggies are tender, cut up a carrot and add it to the stir fry. Take a teaspoon - or more, if you're feeling adventurous - of the massaman curry paste and let it dissolve in the frying veggies. Add a spoon of tomato concentrate and mix well. At this point you will need to add the salmon and the coconut milk, stirring gently so as not to break the fish. Check the seasoning, if it lacks salt add some splashes of fish sauce but if you have never cooked with it be careful, it is quite salty. If you find it too thick add a bit of fish or vegetable stock, or even plain tap water or white wine to freshen it up. Bring to a simmer and let it cook in a low heat, until the fish is done. chop off some fresh parsley and garnish, serving with basmati rice and lemon for added freshness. You won't be sorry you cooked this, trust me!!