Before moving to Hawaii I was intimidated by ingredients like lemon grass, curry paste, and even fresh ginger. I didn’t know how to chose them or what to do with them. When we started our vegetable garden here, I actually planted a tiny pot of lemongrass in a fit of enthusiasm. It turned into a lemongrass field, and even so, I never actually used any of it.
Eventually I got over myself. The beautiful piles of fresh ginger and lemongrass in the farmer’s markets and grocery stores were too hard to resist and I was willing to give those things a shot. A cooking lesson from my friend Skya of Ola Loa Wellness taught me an easy way to cook with lemongrass.
This dish is quick and easy to make. Another plus is that a little fish goes a long way. Believe it or not, fish is expensive in Hawaii too. I think – “oh, let’s have fish for dinner. I’ll just go and get a little mahi mahi.” $35 dollars later that’s exactly what I have. A little mahi mahi.
The coconut milk is rich and satisfying and simmering the fish in the coconut milk flavors both the fish and the liquid. There are so many vegetables in the dish that a small bowl is very filling and delicious. Plus you get the added benefit of eating all those vegetables.
This recipe is very forgiving and can be varied to suit your taste and the vegetables or fish that are available. I’ve added zucchini, left out the bell peppers, put in string beans cut into 1” pieces, and also used cauliflower. You can put in a little more curry paste or ginger if you like things more intensely flavored. You can also serve it over a little steamed jasmine rice, if you’re making a carb exception.
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 cans coconut milk (full fat), 13.5 ounces per can
- 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste* (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 pound fish fillets, cut into 1 1/2" to 2" chunks, can use any white fish that is not too fragile like cod or snapper
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 1/2" thick rounds of fresh ginger, unpeeled (Thai ginger or regular)
- 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2" to 2" chunks
- 1/2 pound broccoli, cut into florets, stems cut into small chunks
- 2 Japanese eggplant or 1 small globe eggplant, about 1/2 pound, cut into 1 1/2" to 2" chunks
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4" rounds
- 2-3 lemon grass stalks (optional), white ends lightly pounded (bruised) to release juices
- Lime wedges for serving
- *Note: Available in the Asian food section of many grocery stores.
- Add coconut oil and garlic to a pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Sauté garlic on medium low heat until golden. Stir in coconut milk, green curry paste, fish sauce, and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add fish and simmer until fish is just cooked through. Gently remove fish to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add onions and ginger and simmer for a minute or two until onions are partially cooked. Add bell pepper, broccoli, eggplant, and carrots and simmer until vegetables are almost tender. Add lemongrass and continue simmering until vegetables are tender when stuck with a fork.
- Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk or water if more liquid is needed. Add salt to taste.
- Remove lemongrass and ginger before serving.
- Serve with lime wedges on the side.
- Tastes delicious as is or with a little steamed jasmine rice (if you're eating carbs).