Bill made a fabulous dinner on Friday – all Asian dishes. We used to cook a lot of Asian dishes when we were first together.
(Interruption: Bill and Alex are fishing this morning off the rocks and Bill just called to tell me Alex caught the first scup – a keeper – about 12 inches long. GO ALEX! Bill caught one too. They're going to fish for another half hour or so and then go swimming and then come home. Yay! Fresh fish for dinner!)
Okay, back to the program.
A lot of our big marathon cooking sessions kind of petered out once we started having kids. Not as much time and also we couldn't really bombard them lots of the spicy Thai curries and other hot foods we like. But now – now they try things if they're a little spicy…and also, since the kids are 5 and 3, they don't need the same kind of hands-on attention they did when they were babies.
So here's one of the dishes Bill made the other night. It's from the book Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by the fabulous writing/photography team of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. They travel all over the world with their sons, immersing themselves in every culture out there, photographing and writing about the food and the people. Their books are always huge, gorgeous, and incredible. I want to be them.
Anyway – here's this recipe for "Stir Fried Fish with Ginger." It was so good I had it for lunch the next day – cold, straight out of the fridge. Serve it over some rice to soak up the liquid – it's fabulous. The ginger loses some of its fiery, peppery personality during the cooking, mellowing out a bit, but still providing plenty of flavor. Bill used Tilapia when he made it – the book recommends "catfish or snapper or any other firm-fleshed fish." Here goes:
Stir-Fried Fish with Ginger (traey cha k'nye – Cambodia)
1 pound fish fillets
1/2 pound fresh ginger, preferably young ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
4 scallions, trimmed, smashed flat with the side of a cleaver, sliced lengthwise in half, and then cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Slice the fish fillets into strips about 2 inches long and less than 1/2 inch thick. Peel the ginger, then cut into fine matchstick-length julienne (this is most easily done by cutting thin slices, then stacking these to cut them into matchsticks). You should have about 2 cups loosely packed.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil and, when it is hot, add the ginger. When the ginger is starting to turn golden, after about 3 minutes, toss in the shallots. Stir-fry until the ginger is golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Toss in the scallions, reserving a few shreds for garnish, and stir-fry briefly, pressing the scallions against the hot wok to sear them. Add the sliced fish and stir-fry gently for 1 minute, using your spatula to separate the slices and to expose them all to the hot wok. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and salt, stir gently, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. Add the lime juice, taste and adjust the seasonings if you wish, and turn out onto a platter. Garnish with the reserved scallion shreds and serve hot.
Serves 4 as part of a rice meal.