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This is a fish fry?

Yes, but with a big difference. Guests build their own salads

add sizzling seafood chunks right from a wok or the cooking pan

On a fair day, let your garden be the stage for this curry-spiced variation on an oldfashioned fish fry. Its fresh flavors are influenced by Southeast Asia-and, with the salad base, the combination makes a wholesome main course.

The cook has company as chunks of curry-seasoned fish brown in oil. Guests build their own salads, adding freshly cooked fish fritters as they become available.

Best of all, cooking takes place outdoors, where the odors of frying quickly dissipate.

It's a three-station menu, with all ingredients assembled before guests arrive. One station offers the self-serve iced chowder to sip while the cook gets started. At the second station are the fish, batter, and salad elements-you'll need an electrical outlet and an electric wok or cooking pan (or use a pan and a portable burner). At the third post, you can have beverages and the fruit dessert.

Recipes for the chowder, chili cucumbers, and mango fans appear on page 164.

Fish- fry salad for 8

Cold Corn Chowder


Curried Fish Fritter and Salad Platter

Chili Cucumbers

Fresh Mango Fans

Thai Coffee or Tea

Beer Sake

The day before, you can make the chowder, batter, peanut dressing, and chili cucumbers. Begin arranging fish and salad platters.

For Thai coffee or tea, make the beverage double strength (you can also do this step ahead) and chill. To serve, pour over ice; add evaporated milk and sugar to taste. On the party day, finish the salad platter, cut mangoes (if necessary, they can be cut the day before), and set up your three serving stations in the shade.

Oriental markets, some supermarkets, and health-food stores carry rice sticks, hot red chili paste, and shiro miso. Oriental markets may have banana leaves (otherwise, use suggested alternatives).

The salad has five elements. Have them at hand as you begin to cook and serve: salad greens, rice sticks, fish, curry batter, and Indonesian-style peanut dressing. First, fry the rice sticks (they puff almost instantly and become fragile-crisp). Then place the sticks on greens, Guests serve themselves these foods as the salad base. Then, as fish is fried and hot, they can add it to the salad a few bites at a time. Anoint everything with the pungent dressing.

Curried Fish Fritter and Salad Platter

Salad oil

Crisp spinach and peppers

(directions follow)

Fish platter (directions follow)

Curry fritter batter (recipe follows)

Peanut dressing (recipe follows)

1/2 package (7 oz.) rice sticks

Pour 2 to 2 1/2 inches of oil into an electric wok or deep electric cooking pan (at least 3-qt.) and heat to 400 degrees (use a thermometer to check temperature).

As oil heats, arrange alongside it the spinach and peppers, the fish platter, the batter, the dressing, and a wide platter or basket lined with paper napkins.

Break rice sticks into 6 portions, each about 3 inches long. With chopsticks or tongs, add 1 portion of the sticks to hot oil. When sticks puff in a few seconds turn them over so they puff evenly. With a skimmer or slotted spoon, lift sticks from oil when they stop crackling; drain on towels. Skim out any small bits remaining in oil so they won't burn.

Repeat to cook each portion; as cooked, place on spinach leaves.

Reduce oil heat to 375 degrees. With a fork or chopsticks, add 1 of each kind of fish to batter; stir to coat, lift out, and briefly let excess batter drip into bowl. Add fish to oil, filling wok without crowding and without letting oil drop below 350 degreees. Fry fish until brown, about 2 minutes; turn pieces once and push apart to keep from sticking.

Lift cooked fish from oil; drain brieflyon napkins. Invite guests to fill individual plates with spinach, peppers, and rice sticks and top with several pieces of hot fish. Ladle dressing onto salads to taste. Repeat to cook remaining fish; drain and add fish to individual salads while hot. Makes 8 servings.-Michael Roberts, Los Angeles.

Crisp spinach and peppers. Pluck tender leaves from 1 1/2 pounds spinach; discard yellowed leaves and stems. Immerse leaves in cool water to wash well; drain. Wrap leaves in paper towels, put in a plastic bag, and chill to crisp, 1 to 24 hours. Lay spinach on a large platter.

Stem, core, and seed 1 each medium-size yellow and red bell peppers (or 2 of either color). Cut peppers into long slivers and scatter over spinach. If done ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 4 hours.

Fish platter. Purchase 3/4 pound each medium-large shrimp (about 40 to a Lb.), scallops, and white-fleshed fish, boned and skinned, such as rockfish or orange roughy fillets. Also purchase 16 shucked oysters on the half-shell (or without shells, if desired), such as small Pacifics.

Shell and devein shrimp. Rinse shrimp, scallops, and fish. Cut scallops and white fish into 1 -inch chunks.

Cut oysters away from their shells; rinse grit from oysters and shells, then lay oysters back into shells.

Use a large platter, or a wide, flat basket lined with plastic wrap or foil. Cover platter with washed and dried large nontoxic leaves such as banana, ti, or aspidistra. Arrange the fish, grouped by kind, on leaves, and present to guests. If made ahead, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill up to 24 hours. Uncover, and scatter a few ice cubes over fish to keep cool until you cook.

Curryfritter batter. In a bowl, stir together until blended 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk (or 1 cup thawed frozen coconut milk and 1/2 cup water), 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup each curry powder and soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons hot red chili paste or 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, and 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 24 hours.) Up to 15 minutes before using, stir 1 teaspoon baking powder into batter.

Peanut dressing. In a bowl, smoothly whisk together 1 cup canned coconut milk (or 2/3 cup thawed frozen coconut milk and 1/2 cup water), 1/2 cup chunk-style peanut butter, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 3 tablespoons shiro miso (white miso) or 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 24 hours.)
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Sep 1, 1987
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