This is a delicious dish that can be done with any fresh, meaty and sustainable fish. It uses a curry mixture called laksa originally was a descriptor for noodles but now has come to mean a spicy coconut milk based dish with or without noodles. It has its roots in Malaysia. In place of the spinach you could use other Asian greens like steamed baby bok choy.
Chili garlic sauce is available in the Asian markets and the Asian section of some supermarkets. Lee Kum Kee from Hong Kong is a widely distributed brand.
- 2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (or to taste)
- ⅓ cup chopped shallot
- ⅓ cup chopped and toasted macadamia nuts or blanched almonds
- ¼ cup peeled and finely chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
- 2 tablespoon asian fish sauce (or to taste)
- 2 limes, juice only
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cup coconut milk, divided
- 4 fresh alaska halibut cut at least 3/4 inch thick (approximately 1‑½ pounds total)
- 1 pinch each kosher salt & black pepper
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup grated daikon or other savory sprouts such as sunflower
To make the laksa paste: Add all ingredients except coconut milk to a blender and process for a minute or two or until very smooth. Add mixture to a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat for 4 — 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Should be very fragrant. Stir in ½ cup coconut milk and cook for 2 – 3 minutes more. Set aside for halibut or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
To make the halibut: Pat the halibut dry, season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an ovenproof sauté pan (preferably non-stick) over moderately high heat and quickly sauté sea bass on one side until nicely browned. Turn fish over and place pan in a preheated 475-degree oven for 4 — 5 minutes or until just cooked through.
While fish is cooking heat the stock and coconut milk in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in remainung 1 ½ cups laksa paste and keep warm.
To serve: Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat. Add spinach stir-fry until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Place spinach in the center of shallow warm bowls and top with halibut. Ladle broth around, top with sprouts and serve immediately.