There’s few dishes more soul-warming and inspiring on a chilly day than a hearty fish curry. This staple of Southeast Asian cuisines puts us in mind of warmer places (ah, the beach!) and brighter days, with its rainbow of crisp vegetables, lavish doses of fresh herbs, intricately layered spices, and of course that velvety, creamy coconut base. Spooned atop jasmine rice or sopped up with naan bread, it’s pure decadence in a bowl. Not to mention, it’s the sort of meal whose cooking doubles as an “event.” The ingredient list may be long, but assembly is simple — and you’ll feel quite chef-like pounding chilis with a pestle, presiding over a fragrant, bubbling pot, and adjusting heat levels from “mild” to “four-alarm” per your preference.
Now, you’ll just need a quaff worthy of serving with your weeknight masterpiece. We suggest a fine single-malt whisky like Highland Park 18 Year Old Viking Pride. This award winning tipple is aged in a high proportion of first-fill sherry seasoned European and American oak casks and carries mouth-watering notes of ripe cherries, dark chocolate, toffee, heather honey, and aromatic smoked peat for an intriguing smoky finish. Its rich, complex flavor is the perfect complement with meaty fish like swordfish, mahi mahi, or cod, while its brightness contrasts beautifully with the dish’s warming spices and aromatics like cardamom, ginger, and turmeric.
Read on to learn how to make this most distinguished meal, and pick up a bottle of Highland Park 18 Year Old Viking Pride to pair with it — and to sip on while making it. There are benefits to being the cook, after all.
Fish Curry with Coconut Milk
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add curry leaves, Kashmiri chilis, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, garlic and ginger and cook until the seeds are fragrant and begin to pot (about 3 minutes). Transfer to a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or food processor and pulse into a paste. Add shallots and fresh chili to pot, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add chili paste and turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and coconut milk and mix to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower to a simmer, continue to cook, covered, until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 15 minutes.
Stir in fish and cook until fish is firm and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt, and serve with fresh cilantro, lime, and naan bread. Serve with a dram of Highland Park 18 Year Old.
Recipe by Jess Damuck
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