THAI RED CURRY BARRAMUNDI SOBA

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It’s a day before the time of the month, no fun at all. My body was roasting hot in the day even when the ceiling fan was on full blast. 😥This is because of the production of progesterone and manifestation of ordinary mood swings in hormonal levels.

Concurrently, my mind was bombarded with flashing thoughts, hypothetical scenarios, and complex emotions began to surface… Before I sank deeper into a rabbit of hole of uncertainties, I distracted myself by doing these 3 things:

1) Meditate for 10 minutes with my Headspace app

2) Listen to “Get well soon” by Ariana Grande from her sweetener album

3) Make a soulful Thai curry I learnt from my recent retreat in Phuket

Doing something slow, and therapeutic releases the tension, and the cramps. Of course, nothing is more comforting than making something tangible, warm and nourishing for myself to feel better!

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What do I eat before and during period?

Iron intake level up

  • Double up my iron intake first to compensate the amount blood I’ll be losing. Brace myself! The most absorbable sources of iron for me is fish (barramundi and salmon). On days I choose to go meatless, I incorporate leafy greens (spinach, kale, bak choy), legumes and soy (tofu and soy protein, soy milk). To boost the absorption rate, add Vitamin C. I pair my meals with a cup of water with a Vitamin C effervescent tablet or snack on citrus fruits!

    More vitamin B-12

  • Take one vitamin B-12 supplement a day to support the functioning in energy metabolism, DNA and red blood cells development. Vitamin B-12 is a vital nutrient that our body requires for essential functioning. Taking this supplement is key for vegetarians or vegans. Our bodies do not make vitamin B-12, we absorb it from animal foods (clams, tuna, eggs, yogurt, trout) or foods fortified with B-12 (fortified cereals, fortified nutritional yeast, fortified non-dairy milk). Similarly, on days I decide to opt for less meat, I drink soy milk with a high fat coffee every morning to meet the daily requirement.

    Choose better carbs (not the white ones)

  • It is impossible for me to live a day without carbs. Especially white rice and noodles that lead me to a dreadful food coma. During period, I stock up soba (buckwheat noodles), quinoa, green bean noodles as substitutes. Going for low GI products can still make us replete with its nutritional benefits.

    Use natural seasoning (no salt please)

  • I am practically a bloated balloon every morning, no matter how I try to suck it in 😭. Having salt-laden food like chips, fries, take-outs will only cause water retention and aggravate the already moody self. So I prepare my own meals, empower myself by putting food with less sodium into the system, and drink more water. Instead of a dash of salt, go for a teaspoon of miso or fresh herbs to flavour up!

With all the tips above, I have refined the Thai curry recipe I learnt and developed this “Thai Red Curry Barramundi Soba”.

The gentle, mild taste of Cone Bay Barramundi was very pleasant to cook for a low-maintenance curry. Very much similar to freshly caught wild fish, it lent saltwater sweetness to the curry, and remained incredibly firm even if you overcooked a little. Even though it did not exude a strong odour, I always sprinkle a dash of pink sea salt, and splash of sesame oil on raw fillets before cooking. Also, the fish is low in mercury levels, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats, thus being my second choice of fish after salmon.

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Every time I decide to make a spiced Asian meal and end up with tons of unused ingredients, I will be in a real quandary about whether to cook it again. But for this recipe, I was thrilled to purchase a Tom Yam Ingredient Set! Most of the essential ingredients for the curry are similar to Tom Yam, and the portion fits right for 2-4 servings, it really helps avoid food waste!

Typically, I prefer to pound the red curry ingredients for freshness, and the free therapy! Alternatively, I recommend buying a store-bought Thai red curry paste for the convenience. For the distinctive citrus fragrance, cut the crushed kaffir lime leaves in very thin strips so you can taste its lingering astringent flavour with the curry without having to throw them away!

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THAI RED CURRY BARRAMUNDI SOBA (serves 2)

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Cone Bay Barramundi Fillet, Themeatclub

  • 2 large asparagus, sliced diagonally 

  • 50g enoki mushroom, cut off base

  • 50g brown shimeji mushroom, cut off base

  • 3 sweet baby corn, halved 

  • 4 lemongrass, chop away green part, use only the white base and pound them slightly using a pestle till the out layer splits open.

  • 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, crushed, remove stem, cut thinly

  • 200ml UHT natural coconut cream

  • 160g Soba

  • A handful of chopped Thai coriander, for garnish 

Seasonings

  • 15g palm sugar, jaggery

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

  • 1 heaping tsp red miso, to taste

  • Pink sea salt

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Red Curry Paste (optional) 

  • 2 large dried chilli

  • 2 bird’s eye red chilli

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 thumbs fresh turmeric root

  • 1 medium shallot

  • 1 thumb galangal

*The Tom Yam Ingredient Set comes with: lemongrass, shallots, galangal, bird’s eye chills, kaffir lime leaves, and lime 

*Alternatively, you can use 1 tbsp store-bought Thai red curry paste, available in Cold Storage and FairPrice Xtra

Directions

  • Remove skin from Barramundi Fillet, and slice in large chunks (about 7 pieces). Season it with a pinch of salt and toasted sesame oil to eliminate the even the slightest fish smell. 

  • For all the curry ingredients, remove skin and cut them into small chunks except for the chillies. Use scissors to cut the chillies in small pieces. Avoid contact with the chilli seeds. Pound all the ingredients using the mortar and pestle till it forms a moist, bright orange paste. 

  • Boil 3 cups water in a small pot to blanch mushrooms, corn and asparagus for 1 minute. Drain water, and set the ingredients aside. 

  • Using the same pot, boil 1.5 litres water, cook soba for 3-4 minutes, it should be slightly undercooked. Drain and cool soba in a bowl of cold water. 

  • Pour oil into a pre-heated stock pot over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of curry paste and cook for 3 minutes till fragrant. Add another ½ tbsp of curry paste for extra spiciness.

  • Pour coconut cream and stir in with the paste continuously for 4 minutes. Add palm sugar, lemongrass and ½ portion of kaffir lime leaves, continue to stir for 3 minutes.

  • Turn the heat up, add 1 litre hot water and red miso paste into the mixture. Stir for 1 minute. When it is rolling boil, add barramundi chunks and cook for 3-5 minutes, till they turned opaque white. Taste, and add extra red miso till your desired taste.

  • Assemble soba, mushrooms, corn and asparagus in two deep plates. Ladle hot red curry and barramundi over. Garnish with remaining lime leaves and chopped coriander. 

Enjoy!Xx

-Ally


SUPER BASIC SEAFOOD PLATTER WITH EGGLESS MAYONNAISE

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Every time I reminisce about winter holidays, the first thing that came to my mind was the most basic, simple and fresh seafood platter at The Sign Of The Black Faced Sheep restaurant. What made it more indelible was having a girls day out with Teresa, my mum-to-be in two months time! We love the simplicity about the restaurant’s interpretation towards their seafood platter, using the natural sweetness of the freshly caught seafood by preparing them in less refined ways. We were regaled with excellent chilled, and smoked seafood on a bed of garden greens, a mayonnaise dip and a homemade bun to go with. Dishes that were artfully crafted this way leaves a deep impression anytime!

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Today I am going to share with you this “Super Basic Seafood Platter with Eggless Mayonnaise”. The King Salmon from Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand was delivered by the lovely folks from The Meat Club actually got me excited to recreate this platter I missed . fondly. This rustic meal comprises some of the biggest names of the “High-Fat Foods” family that may ring a bell with you! They are salmon, coconut oil, pine nuts and cashew nuts. With this harmony of good fats, they are incredibly nutritious for your hair, skin and nails.

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To begin, I sprinkled a wee bit of Himalayan pink sea salt on this orange, richly marbled wood roasted salmon and pan seared it with coconut oil over medium heat. Achieving a golden, crispy texture on the outside with an orange-pink undertone requires attention and patience- you need to keep a eye on the salmon and cook the corners evenly.

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Don’t waste any drop of the fragrant, orange oil. Once you’ve plated the salmon, pour the remaining oil into a dish for bread dipping!

Finally, THE EGGLESS MAYONNAISE! Using cashew nuts to replace eggs in this veggieboy-approved dressing recipe, both enriches it with extra fat and and a desired smooth consistency. Even the most straight forward, thrown-together dressing makes this seafood platter feel a lot more manageable to prepare for healthy quick meals.

There you go, a belly-filling, super basic seafood platter that pairs really well with a glass of sparkling lime water!

Tip

To test doneness of the salmon (even if they are golden on the exterior) use a toothpick and slide in gently. Touch it with your lips or your finger tips. If its warm, the salmon is almost done. If it’s still cool, give it another 4 minutes. You can also check the colour at both ends of the salmon for the doneness. 

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SUPER BASIC SEAFOOD PLATTER WITH EGGLESS MAYONNAISE (serves 1)

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g King Salmon, Natural, Wood Smoked (The Meat Club)

  • 5 fresh grey prawns, deshell & devein

  • 50g salad greens 

  • 2 tbsp organic raw virgin coconut oil (Ceres Organics), also available in Cold Storage supermarket

  • 2 slices multiseed gluten-free bread (Swissbake) also available in Cold Storage supermarket

  • 1 tsp pine nuts (NuVitality)

  • 4 Spanish pitted queen green olives

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • ½ lemon, sliced

Dressing

  • 50g cashew kernels (Ceres Organics)

  • 3 tsp lemon juice

  • ½ tsp organic Dijon mustard

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • 40ml water

Directions

  • Boil 3 cups water in a saucepan over medium high heat, gently lay prawns in and cook for 1 minute 30 seconds, till they turn bright red. Transfer to a bowl with a handful of ice cubes to chill. 

  • Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium high heat. Season salmon with a pinch of sea salt on both sides.

  • Add coconut oil on the pan, gently lay salmon skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, until skin is crispy. Flip over to other side, turn down to medium heat, cook it for 8-10 minutes until fish is opaque all the way up. 

  • Transfer salmon to a plate and let it cool slightly. Pour remaining coconut oil into a small dish for bread dipping.

  • Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. For a thinner consistency, add 1 tbsp each time and blend again till desired. 

  • Pour water away from the bowl of chilled prawns, season them with a pinch of black pepper.

  • Assemble salad greens, pan-seared salmon, chilled prawns, bread slices, dipping oil, lemon slices and olives, on a plate. Drizzle dressing over salmon and sprinkle pine nuts over. Squeeze lemon over chilled prawns and enjoy! 

With loads of love Xx

Ally