Thursday, January 8, 2015

The beginning of Busy: Quick-fix red curry fish

The last of the so-called ‘holiday season’ swiftly came to an end, bringing with it a general sense of haste in my life. Getting back to a 9–5 routine is never easy and waking up early for work in winters is most definitely a herculean task. Whatever happened to the ideals of the slow easy-going life? I often wonder, why must we always rush and run through everything? And at the risk of sounding like a terribly dull person, I must confess that when it comes to speed, I am a complete goner! In keeping with the spirit of an easy-going life, I must confess that I am a terrible cook when under pressure. I can toss up a perfectly delicious plate of pasta or roast a whole chicken to perfection when there is really no constraint on my time. But, sadly, my life does not allow for such luxuries every day and I have learnt the hard way that it is absolutely essential for a career woman to master the precise art of speed cooking.

This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes of all times. It is from a novella I had read during my graduation (a decade ago! Horror!) called ‘Slowness’ by one of my all-time favourite authors, Milan Kundera. That good ‘ol Czech certainly knew how to write!

Why has the pleasure of slowness disappeared? Ah, where have they gone, the amblers of yesteryear? Where have they gone, those loafing heroes of folk song, those vagabonds who roam from one mill to another and bed down under the stars. Have they vanished along with footpaths, with grasslands and clearings, with nature? There is a Czech proverb that descries their easy indolence by a metaphor: "They are gazing at God's windows." A person gazing at God's windows is not bored; he is happy. In our world, indolence has turned into having nothing to do, which is a completely different thing: a person with nothing to do is frustrated, bored, is constantly searching for the activity he lacks.

So, it was last Sunday around noon that I opened my fridge to see what lay inside. My hunger pangs were beginning to get uncomfortable and I had a very small window to decide what lunch would be. I saw a bowl with three pieces of uncooked fish staring back at me. Promptly, I reached out and placed it on the counter. After about two minutes of quiescence, I had my moment of epiphany!

I like Thai food, both eating and cooking. As a result, I mostly have a lot of basic non-perishable Thai ingredients in my pantry. But never had I tried improvising Thai recipes: usually I solemnly follow procedures, taking down careful measurements and ensuring I had the correct ingredients as far as possible. But on Sunday I decided to stay lazy. I whipped out my jar of red curry paste and the milk jar from the refrigerator, prepared to take on the red curry by the horns! Luckily for me, the outcome was delicious and I made it one more over the week.   

Here is what you need:

1/2 tsp red curry paste
3 pieces of fish 
2 tbsp oil
100 ml milk
salt and chili, to taste

How to:

  • Heat oil in a flat-bottomed nonstick pan. Add the red curry paste to the oil and fry the paste for about 2-3 minutes or till it has somewhat dissolved in the oil. There would be some lumps of course but this is okay, just ensure that these bits do not burn.
  • Now add the fish and fry on both sides along with the curry paste. This should be done for a couple of minutes.Sprinkle salt on the fish, and chili powder, if desired. I used Rohu here, but it would taste even better with others such as Basa.
  • When you think the curry paste is beginning to burn, add about a tablespoon of milk and stir it in quickly (otherwise the milk may curdle). Keep adding the rest of the milk until the fish is cooked through and browned on both sides. The fish should now be coated in a thick red gravy.
  • Your Quick-fix red curry fish is now ready to eat! You can squeeze in a bit of lemon juice if you wish.


  1. The fish looks enticing! Thanks for being kind to share the recipe, would soon try it... You are so right about the degree of “mad rush” today. Why are people missing the basic essence of life? They are becoming aggressive bulls in every way. More than the world, people lack basic awareness about themselves. Time to reflect…

  2. A recipe that can definitely turn a non fish eater into a fish eater. Looks absolutely delicious and no doubts time saving. Perfect for these numbing winters. Kudos woman!

  3. Khoob bhaalo dish ;)

  4. Baa. Ki dakhtae hoechae. Tinch of dhonae paata ????

  5. Dhone pata always a welcome addition!


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