180 gmgreen papaya (about ¼), cut into julienne on a mandolin
Fleshof ½ young coconut (see note)
8lychees, seeds removed
4red shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup(loosely packed) each Thai basil, coriander and mint
2kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
Juiceof 1 lime, plus wedges, to serve
1 tbspfish sauce, or to taste
To serve:toasted coconut flakes (see note)
110 mlwhite vinegar
75 gmcaster sugar
1coriander root, scraped
1thin slice of ginger
½pickled garlic clove (see note)
½piece dried mandarin peel (see note)
½kaffir lime leaf
6small red shallots
25 gm(5cm piece) galangal, finely chopped
10coriander roots, scraped
8dried long red chillies, seeds removed, soaked in warm water until soft, drained
2small green chillies, finely chopped
3red shallots, finely chopped
3garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1½lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
1 tspshrimp paste, roasted (see note)
60 ml(¼ cup) coconut cream
1 tbspvegetable oil
3white peppercorns, finely ground in a mortar and pestle
1 tbspsoft light palm sugar
100 mlchicken stock
To taste:fish sauce
Stir vinegar, sugar and 200ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar, then set aside to cool. Blanch prawns in a saucepan of boiling salted water until just pink (1-2 minutes), refresh, drain and place in a non-reactive container. Add vinegar mixture and refrigerate for flavours to develop (1 hour). Drain.
For pickled shallots, bring all ingredients (except shallots) and 150ml water to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Add shallots, simmer until just tender (2-3 minutes), transfer to a bowl, cool, then refrigerate until required.
For red curry, pound galangal, coriander, chilli, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, roasted shrimp paste and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste and set aside. Heat coconut cream in a large saucepan over low heat until cream cracks and oil rises to the surface (15 minutes; see note), add vegetable oil and reserved paste and stir-fry until fragrant (6-10 minutes). Add peppercorns and palm sugar and cook until sugar starts to caramelise (2-3 minutes). Add stock, bring to the simmer, add fish sauce to taste and keep warm.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add fish skin-side down and fry until skin is crisp (4-5 minutes). Reduce heat to low, turn fish, fry for 1 minute, then set aside in pan to rest (5 minutes).
Combine papaya, coconut, lychees, shallot, herbs, lime juice, pickled shallots and 100ml pickling liquid, toss to combine and add fish sauce to taste. Divide red curry among plates, top with fish, prawns and salad, scatter with toasted coconut and serve with lime wedges.
Note For coconut flesh, carefully remove top of coconut with a sharp knife, drain liquid and scoop out flesh with a spoon. Toast coconut flakes in a 180C oven, stirring occasionally, until golden (3-5 minutes). Pickled garlic, dried mandarin peel and shrimp paste are available from Asian grocers. To roast shrimp paste, wrap in foil and roast in 180C oven until fragrant (10-12 minutes). To ensure coconut cream cracks, use organic coconut cream.
This recipe is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.