Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Go To Meal - Thai Soup with Sauteed Tilapia

Argh. It's been too long since I've posted! So here goes with another type of post. I had no particular agenda when starting this blog other than, perhaps, a secret desire to practice writing about the various subjects that interest me - like cooking. So without further ado, my stab at a cooking/food related post!

I think everyone should have a set of "Go To" meals - you know, the ones with the easy ingredients that you always have on hand. I found this one about a year ago when I ran out of reading material at cardiac rehab (hi Denise!) and had to read one of their boring cookbooks. I painstakingly copied it by hand - THE HORROR - while working out on the treadmill. I've made a few changes and I like to mix it up, but hey, that's how I roll. Plus it's delicious. So let's get on with the cookin'.

Thai Soup with Sauteed Tilapia

The first thing to do is start some rice cooking. My new favorite is brown basmati rice made in my splendid new rice cooker. Just throw it in, add the water and get that baby going.

Then, I trundle off to put together my mise en place; I chop some celery, carrots, onion, two cloves of garlic and a tomato. Real garlic is best - I can't say if the recipe will taste the same with garlic powder. I also throw in a couple handfuls of frozen pepper strips. The green stuff there is about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Thai green curry paste/powder. Use as much or as little as you want since it can be searing hot.

Once I have all that together, I throw some sesame oil and canola in my wok and start it heating. The veggies go in until the onions are translucent then the tomatoes and the curry powder. By this point, its a fragrant mess of color and Thai goodness. All of this takes about 7 minutes or so.

I guess I should mention at this point that while fast, this recipe has quite a few steps. Rachael Ray fans should probably quietly excuse themselves here. Yummo, yes. Simple-o? Not so much.

Okay, so while the mirepoix mixture is doing its thang, get two cups of fish stock (or veggie stock - I use a cup of each), about 1 1/2 tablespoons stanky fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and some minced ginger (optional). Add this mixture to the veggies/curry and bring to a boil. Let it simmer while you prep and cook the fish. And yes, I realize that is bottled lime juice, but seriously, people, even though I hand mince my garlic, who has time to juice their own limes. Or keep them in the fridge all the time.

So, I like to use the vacuum sealed bags of tilapia for my fish. They are easy and thawed under cold running water in the time it took me to get this far in the recipe. I patted them dry and then sprinkled a bit of grill seasoning on them so they wouldn't look quite so pasty in the picture, but that's optional. In a separate pan, heat up some sesame and canola oil and saute the fish until it is opaque.

At this point, add a tablespoon or so of lime juice to the soup (or to taste), adjust the salt/fish sauce and if you are feeling crazy, throw in a handful of frozen edamame. If you are feeling really crazy, a half pound or so of fresh pineapple is outstanding but you have to be able to fully embrace your sweet/savory side to enjoy.

Hopefully by this time, all is done - soup is simmered and rice is steamed. Assembly is easy - scoop of rice, ladle of soup and topped with a piece of fish.

Then serve to your hungry crew to rave reviews.

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