LOTI COOKS | DRY RED CURRY OF CRISPY SALMON WITH ANGLOTHAI
We’re massive fans of AngloThai, the British-Thai kitchen concept run by husband and wife team John and Desiree Chantarasak, so now that John has released a cookbook, KIN THAI: Modern Thai Recipes to Cook at Home, you know we had to feature one of the recipes, and this pad prik khing pla tort or dry red curry of crispy salmon, is one you’ll defo want to make.
John explains what the dish is all about, “like many Thai dishes, pad prik khing indicates that this is a chilli (prik) stir-fry (pad) with ginger (khing). The first two assumptions are correct, but I’ve never come across a recipe for pad prik khing that includes ginger. Instead, this is a fragrant stir-fry or dry curry that is rich in flavour, due to the paste commonly being cooked out in rendered pork fat. Nowadays, most Thai cooks reach for a shop-bought red curry paste to cook this dish, and if you wish to do the same, then please do. My only recommendation would be that you adjust the paste slightly by pounding through some dried prawns (shrimp), as these will give the paste the extra dimension and richness needed for this dish.”
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
160g (51/2 oz) salmon, fillet with skin on, sliced into 4cm (1 1/2 in) chunks
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or rendered pork fat
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
3 makrut lime leaves (fresh or frozen), torn, plus 2 extra, finely shredded, to serve
2 tablespoons green peppercorn sprigs
2 tablespoons fine green beans, cut into 2cm (3/4 in) lengths
1 long red chilli, sliced on the diagonal into 1 cm (1/2 in) thick pieces
1 tablespoon sliced fingerroot (use the long slender part), optional
For the red curry paste:
10 dried long red chillies, seeded and soaked in cold water until soft
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemongrass, root and outer husks removed
2 tablespoons chopped galangal
1 tablespoon chopped coriander root or coriander stem
2 tablespoons chopped banana shallot
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
4 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked until tender and drained well
1. For the curry paste, pound all the ingredients in a stone pestle and mortar until very smooth. In a large bowl, mix together the fish sauce and caster sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the salmon to the bowl and leave to marinate for 5 minutes.
2. Pour the oil for deep-frying into a large wok to a depth of 8cm and heat until the oil reaches 165°C (330°F) on a cooking thermometer. Alternatively, drop a small cube of bread into the hot oil; if it turns golden brown in about 25 seconds, the oil is ready. Drain the salmon and carefully lower it into the hot oil, keeping the fish sauce marinade for later. Deep-fry the salmon for 5 minutes, or until crispy and dark golden. Remove the salmon and leave to drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off the oil and keep for another use.
3. Add the pork fat or vegetable oil to the wok and warm over a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the curry paste and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until it smells fragrant, with a good sheen of oil. Add the palm sugar and reserved fish sauce marinade to season.
4. Add the crispy salmon to the wok, along with the torn makrut lime leaves, green peppercorns, green beans, sliced chilli and fingerroot, then gently toss and fold everything together to coat well with the seasoned curry paste. If the paste is too stiff and thick, then moisten with 1–2 tablespoons water, but be careful not to add too much liquid, as this should be a thick, dry sauce. It will taste rich and oily, with a well-seasoned salty and sweet background. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the shredded makrut lime leaves.