Friday, December 11, 2015

33. Mahi Mahi Tacos in a Curried Coconut Sauce with Lime-Almond Spinach Salad


I made these tacos on a Wednesday.  It was a nice day.  The school semester was winding down.  I actually had a little time to meet Steve for a quick lunch.  Guess what we had?  Ha ha.  You guessed it - tacos!  There's a little place called Carlito's that just recently opened in Casa Grande that's been getting a lot of positive attention.  I've been wanting to try it.  I wanted to try more than one thing, so I went with 2 tacos - a pork al pastor and a grilled shrimp.  I preferred the pork, but they were both pretty good!

It was actually kind of nice to eat some tacos that I didn't make.  :)

Anyway, since we had already had tacos for lunch, I knew I wanted to make something very different for dinner.  I thought I might be able to subconsciously convince our taste buds that we weren't having tacos.

I may have succeeded.  These were . . . different.  Exotic and different.

I don't know what to say about this recipe.  There is some interesting cross-cultural fusion going on here.  Coconut milk, hot peppers, lime, and cilantro - Thai?  Indian?  Well . . . those ingredients could indicate either cuisine!  What about Madras-style curry powder?  I have loved eating and making Indian food quite regularly over the last couple of years, and I was very interested to learn (from 660 Curries, my favorite Indian cookbook) that what most Americans know as "curry powder" is actually a British invention.  There are countless combinations of spices that can be ground and used in Indian dishes.  It's all very interesting.  There's nothing wrong with Madras-style curry powder, by the way.  It's pretty tasty - it's just not as authentically Indian as one might think!

So, here's the recipe for these British/Indian/Thai tacos.  Nothing to be afraid of - they were delicious!  :)

Mahi Mahi Tacos in a Curried Coconut Sauce with Lime-Almond Spinach Salad

Serves 4 (about 8 generous tacos)


For the fish:

1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
4-6 small Thai chiles, finely chopped (or 1-2 serranos)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tbsp. Madras-style curry powder (I used hot)
2 small tomatoes, diced
One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
Finely ground black pepper to taste
1 lb. mahi-mahi fillets

For the salad:

2 heaping cups chopped fresh spinach
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted

12 to 24 corn tortillas, depending on whether you want to double them up

Ground paprika, for garnish (optional)

Lime slices, for garnish (optional)

1.  Make the sauce:  Heat the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, lower the heat a bit, and cook until the onion is soft and slightly brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the chiles, garlic, and ginger and cook for an additional minute.  Stir in the curry powder and the tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated.  Add the coconut milk, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a low boil and cook until the flavors have blended and the mixture has reduced slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes.

2.  Cook the fish:  Add the fish fillets to the sauce.  Bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and cook until the fish just begins to flake, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat (keep covered) and set aside.

3.  Prepare the salad:  Combine all of the salad ingredients in a medium bowl and toss.  (You may need to heat the coconut oil slightly if your room temperature is too low.  Coconut oil will solidify at a certain point.)  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Set aside.

4.  While the fish is cooking, (or after, if you don't want to multi-task,) prepare the tortillas:  Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, one by one, until browned but still soft, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  

As the tortillas are done, stack them on a sheet of foil.

When they are all finished, wrap them in the foil.  You can keep them warm in a 250 degree oven if you wish!

5.  When all the components are ready, assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  (If your tortillas are thin, as mine were, double them up!)  Top with a generous amount of the fish.  Spoon on some of the salad.  Drizzle with a little bit of extra curried coconut sauce.  Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and a squeeze or two of lime.  Enjoy!

I have to admit, these were kind of weird (for tacos).  I really thought they were delicious, though.  They didn't fit into any one particular type of cuisine, but in the end, it didn't matter.  The flavors worked together perfectly!

If you wanted to make the fish and salad and just eat it with some jasmine rice (and forget about the whole taco thing), go ahead.  I wouldn't judge.  :)

You might want to keep an eye on the fish and make sure that it doesn't simmer too much.  Steve thought I overcooked it just a bit.  I'm not sure that I did, but it's definitely something to be aware of.  Mahi-mahi can definitely dry out.  It will also continue to cook just a bit while it sits in the sauce, so you really can remove it from the heat when it's just barely (or almost?) done.

Overall, I was really happy with these "fusion" tacos!

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try the tacos?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think! Please comment! :)