Grilled Mahimahi with bamboo, edamame, and turmeric rice in a tamarind curry sauce

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Serves 4 as a main course

One of my favorite foods, especially when I travel to Japan, is curried rice. It’s a late-night comfort food for me that’s just perfect with a glass of beer. It surprised me a lot of people to learn that curry is a typical feature of Japanese home cooking that has long been very popular; it’s something that I grew up with. This fusion combines these roots with Asian ingredients-I enjoy the Indian flavors of coriander, turmeric, and tamarind, although I use them all too rarely.

Tamarind Curry Sauce

  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 can (19 ounces) coconut milk

Turmeric Rice

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), peeled and sliced into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ cups long-grain rice
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons palm sugar
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 cup edamame or frozen peas
  • 15 shitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 4 ounces haricots verts or baby Blue Lake green beans, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce

4 mahimahi fillets, about 6 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare a grill

To prepare the sauce, put the tamarind in a bowl, add the water, and let stand for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves, shallots, and dried shrimp and sauté for 1 minute. Add the curry powder, coriander seeds, and turmeric, stir well, and sauté 1 minute longer. Add the rehydrated tamarind to the saucepan along with the tomato and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a clean saucepan.

To prepare the rice, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, then the chicken stock, cover the pan, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in the fish sauce, palm sugar, and cilantro.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the vegetables: Heat the oil in a large, heavy sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the bamboo, edamame, shiitakes, and green beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for about 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in the oyster sauce and cook for about 30 seconds longer, or until the ingredients are well coated.

Season the mahimahi with salt and pepper to taste and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until opaque throughout. Transfer to warmed plates and pour the warm sauce around the fish. Serve with rice and vegetables.