Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Curry Catfish Fail

Before you go congratulating me, giving me pats on the back and nominating me for foodie awards or even trying this at home, know this:

I hated this dish.

Blecht! I didn't like it at all.

It had all the makings of things I didn't like: Breaded catfish, fried fish and heavy sauce. 

What was I doing, you might ask?

I was experimenting.

I'd had catfish curry at one of our local Vietnamese restaurants and thought I would try and duplicate this dish at home.

It was my first time having catfish curry, ever.

Hum...now I wonder if the chef was experimenting as well. I had never heard of curry catfish on a Vietnamese menu before -- not that I am the expert on Vietnamese home and restaurant cooking around the world. I'm not.

But I went for it. And, goodness, was it good. So good!

The chef did an excellent job. The batter was not too thick. The fish had a wonderful texture. And the curry was perfectly flavored.

I didn't bother asking how it was done. I decided to go off of memory.

I started by browning coriander seeds, later cooking them slowly with some sweet onions. I also prepped ginger and shallots.

Cooking the catfish was the biggest headache. I do not like battered fish much at all and I have never tried cooking battered fish at home.

I went the easy route. I seasoned the flour and beat a couple of eggs, dipping the catfish in the eggs, then the flour.

At the same time, I was working on the curry. I included mustard, paprika and cumin along with tomato sauce and a bit of curry powder.

When the sauce was at the correct consistency, and with the catfish all battered and fried (blecht! ...yes, again), I added the fish to the sauce and cooked briefly.

It just didn't fit. It was a culinary mismatch to me.

What did I do wrong?

What did the chef at the Vietnamese restaurant do that was right? So very, very right?

I do not know.

But, goodness, I will have to get back there, grab him/her by the collar and with swiftness, beg that the recipe be released to me before the police arrive and drag me away.


Until then, I will have to be content with this failure: Battered and fried catfish curry served over a bed of rice and sprinkled with cilantro.


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