December 14, 2010

Kari Ikan Makcik (Auntie's Fish Curry)

I thought about typing out the actual recipe on this blog, but decided it was too late (almost midnight!) to type it all out. However, if there are significant numbers of requests in the comments (like two maybe) I will be happy to post it.
Here is the story however... this is Auntie's kitchen. She's actually got quite the set-up as far as kitchens go. Her house is probably the nicest on our street though, so it didn't surprise me.
Part of the recipe calls for coconut liquid (not milk I don't think because I think that's just straight out of the coconut) The liquid here I'm talking about is gotten by pouring water over the coconut shavings. Here's Makcik (Maa-cheek) grinding out the coconut flesh on her special coconut grinding machine. The girl in pink is her house helper...who had just cut the fresh coconut open with a machete about 4 minutes before this. 
 Here's her rinsing (then squeezing) the coconut shavings. You can get the coconut liquid from a box at any import store...but like most things, the fresher the better!
 Speaking of fresh. She bought the fish from the Chinese guy who drives by everyday on his motorcycle selling fresh fish and vegetables. Every bit goes into the curry. This fish was really good... I have no idea the English name for it, but it's Ikan Bawal (Bawal fish).  Also, before you (in America) get grossed out by the thought of fish in your curry- maybe you already are?- I realized after cooking this with Makcik that "fish" or "chicken" or whatever other kind of curry isn't really all that different- at least not how she did it.  The curry was all made, then the fish put in at the end to cook in the pot. So it could have easily been chicken or lamb and it didn't really change the flavor of the curry at all.
 Here's the curry (before the vegetables and fish added). It's quite easy to make really...though Makcik owned a restaurant for 20 years, so watching her do it was a bit like watching a prima ballerina dance... she made it look easy.
 My throat was hurting pretty bad that day and as much as I'm just kind of take-it-or-leave-it on my feelings toward curry in general, when Makcik asked me to taste test it, the tiny little spoonful I got ran down my throat like warm powerful medicine.  Think vegetable soup times a thousand. It burned a bit because curry is spicy, but at the same time it felt amazing. Maybe it was numbed, I have no clue, only it worked.
Anthony was home watching the boys (who were both napping during the curry making) so Makcik loaded up the "mangkuk tingkat" or the stacked bowls with all the fresh food she had just made. She of course made fried chicken, rice, and an eggplant dish all while making the curry. So I had to take it down the lane to Anthony, then return to her house to eat our fresh meal together.
The curry is the bowl directly under Anthony's elbow. I saved what he didn't eat of it and ate about 8 spoonfuls like a soup the next day (you're supposed to eat it with rice). What was left of my sore throat went away after eating it. So. I can't say I'll be making curry all too often, but I do know what I'll make when I get a sore throat!


Aunt Gigi said...

Can I just fly right over and have some to help with my sore throat?? Wish it were that easy...or if we could teleport it via skype, that would be awesome.

Brandon and April said...

sounds yum! i'm a take it or leave it type of person too when it comes to curry. but I'm pretty sure I'd take it if it'd been cooked authentically in Auntie's kitchen!

CAEN said...

Anthony looks quite pleased, guess you will be making this regularly. I want to meet your Auntie, and eat some of her delicious food too!

Julia said...

It's gotta be better than the Cheesecake Factory's curry! HA!