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Jungle curry of grilled fish, with wild ginger and holy basil
Jungle curry of grilled fish, with wild ginger and holy basil
1 hour
2 to 4 (as part of shared Thai meal)

This is a typical Jungle curry - hot, herbal and fragrant of kaffir lime and wild ginger. The grilled fish adds an additional smokey dimension. We’ve used Silver mullet here but any firm white flesh fish will work.

Recipe courtesy of

Paste (makes 2-3 curries)

  • 3 teaspoons maldon sea salt
  • ¾ cup dried long red chillies  (snipped)
  • ¼ cup hot small dry scud chillies  
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and sliced galangal
  • ⅓  cups lemongrass, sliced
  • ¼  cup fingers or nubs of gratchi        
  • ½  cups coriander root
  • The zest of ¼ a kaffir lime        
  • 3 - 10 each prik kee nu suan “mouse turd chilli”
  • 1 cups peeled garlic
  • 1 cups peeled Shallots        
  • 15g shrimp paste

Pre paste

  • 4 coriander roots
  • 5 peeled garlic cloves
  • 5 green birdseye chillies
  • 4 prik kee nu suan “mouse turd chillies”        
  • 1-2 fingers of grachai
  • A pinch of holy basil flowers if available

For one curry

  • 450g silver mullet fillets, pin boned, skin left on
  • 2 tablespoons of veg oil or leftover oil from deep frying shallots or garlic
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 5 red or green long chillies, sliced on a bias around the seeds
  • 2 Apple aubergines cut into 6 or so pieces each
  • 12 short length of snake beans
  • 12 Pea aubergines
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced grachi
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves roughly torn
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup Holy basil, picked
  • 2 betel leaves roughly torn

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To make the paste:

  1. Snip the large dried chillies, soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes while you gather all the other ingredients.
  2. After the chillies are soaked using a colander with holes large enough for the seeds to fall through, wash the chillies under running water to remove most of the seeds.
  3. In a mortar and pestle pound the paste starting with the dried chillies with the maldon sea salt, pound until smooth and then adding one by one, bit by bit, the rest of the ingredients (more or less in the order listed above) starting with the harder of them like galangal, gratchi and lemongrass working down to the softest last until it’s smooth and completely incorporated paste.

To make the pre-paste:

  1. Pound to a coarse paste with a tiny pinch of salt.

To finish the curry:

  1. First toss the fish in a little fish sauce and a dash of oil and grill it to char the skin, it need only be 60-70% cooked when it is removed from the grill (cooking will finish in the curry)
  2. Fry the pre-paste in a small amount of oil until slightly turning golden, add the jungle paste and fry until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, fish sauce, pea and apple aubergines, and torn kaffir lime leaf.
  4. Bring to a fast simmer.
  5. Now add the long beans, grachai, sliced chillies and grilled fish.
  6. Simmer for couple of minutes longer, turning the fish once or two if not fully submerged.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning with fish sauce and consistency with stock - it should taste hot, salty and fragrant of herbs.
  8. If not hot enough add some bruised green birdseye chillies.  
  9. When the fish is cooked and the curry is ready finish by stirring through the betel leaves and holy basil.  
  10. Serve with jasmine rice alongside.

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