Any firm-fleshed fish can be used for this delicious curry, which gains its rich color from a mixture of fresh herbs; try exotics, such as mahi-mahi, hoki, or swordfish, or humbler fish, such as coley. Serve it with basmati or Thai fragrant rice and lime wedges.

  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cm / 2 in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh green chillies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 5-10 ml / 1-2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 75 ml / 5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 900 g / 2 lb hoki fillets, skinned
  • 400 ml / 14 fl oz / 1⅔ cups coconut milk
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 50 g / 2 oz fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 50 g / 2 oz fresh mint leaves
  • 50 g / 2 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 6 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 150 ml / ¼ pint / ⅔ cup sunflower oil
  • sliced fresh green chilli and finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish
  • cooked rice and lime wedges, to serve

Shrimp paste, also known as blachan or terasi, is available in Asian food stores.

  1. First make the curry paste. Combine the garlic, fresh root ginger, green chillies, the lime juice and shrimp paste in a food processor. Add the coriander seeds and five-spice powder, with half the sesame oil. Process to a fine paste, then set aside until required.
  2. Heat a wok or large shallow pan and pour in the remaining sesame oil. When it is hot, stir-fry the red onions over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the fish and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes to seal the fillets on all sides.
  3. Lift out the red onions and fish and put them on a plate. Add the curry paste to the wok or pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Return the fish and red onions to the wok or pan, pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, add the Thai fish sauce, and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, process the herbs, spring onions, lime rind and oil in a food processor to a coarse paste. Stir into the fish curry. Garnish with chilli and coriander and serve with rice and lime wedges.