It’s a Tie (Thai?) Fish

Herblay, France

Dear ones,

Kudos to Hanin and Thomas for Norah,  the most amazing addition to the Williams family. She’s adorable! She even has a hat that says so. The sun is shining and Norah is one week old today! Big happy!


There was so much excitement and anticipation here in Herblay last Sunday that I have to admit cooking was far from uppermost in my mind. All the same, Beth set the bar very high , producing those great crab and shrimp raviolis in broth. What did I have to work with? Some beautiful thick cod and runner beans fresh from the market, plus my usual odds and ends in the pantry. Beth made it Asian so I had to complement that in the main course.

Beth was very flattering when she named my recipe Thai Fish but this isn’t the least bit authentic. It is a total cheat, so my apologies to lovers of the real thing. What I will say though is that there wasn’t one grain of rice, slice of bean or drop of sauce left on anyone’s plate.

Had there been a contest between the two courses, the best I could have hoped for was a tie (Thai). Groan.

Here’s all I did for the three of us.

I took my cod (about 750 grams or one and a quarter pounds) and placed it gently (i.e. chucked it) in a lightly greased glass oven proof dish and seasoned it with salt, pepper and ground chilli flakes. Then I mixed 200 ml (not quite a cup, but a cupful would be fine) of light coconut milk with 60 grams (about a quarter of a cup) of red Thai curry paste, a handful of chopped coriander and poured half of it it over the fish. The fish baked uncovered in a 200 degree Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) oven for about twenty minutes. Cooking time will vary of course depending how thick your fish is. Before serving, I sprinkled the fish with some more  freshly chopped coriander and heated up the rest of the sauce in the microwave. Yeah, I know, this isn’t really even a recipe; it’s a throw together.


 In Ottawa, I had a good friend who was married to a Chinese man. This is how he taught me to cook rice. It works with all non-precooked rice. Put the rice in a big bowl and fill with cold water. Swish the rice around with your hand. The water will go white. Drain off the water and repeat until the water stays clear. This is a serious investment in water I know, but you will get great rice. Next put the rice in a pot and level it out. Pour in cold water, being careful not to make a ‘hole’ in the rice. Put  one of your index fingers on the rice and keep adding water until it comes up to your first knuckle. Cover the pot (glass lids are fabulous for this!) and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about eleven minutes. Don’t lift the lid. Tip the pot. Here’s where the glass lid is so great. If you don’t see water coming to the side then your rice is done. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork.  Beth, who doesn’t always tidy up as she cooks, left a couple of green onion tops lying around so I sliced those up and sprinkled them on the rice for a bit of colour.

I cut the runner beans on a slant and steamed them for about six minutes and grated a little lemon rind over them at the last minute.



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6 thoughts on “It’s a Tie (Thai?) Fish

  1. Emily March 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm Reply

    This looks and sounds delicious!!! Easy enough for a small dinner party.

  2. Beth March 10, 2014 at 11:35 am Reply

    This was absolutely delicious!!!!! I love that it’s simple – it’s quick enough to make during the week but is yummy enough to impress dinner guests. Definitely one of my new faves.

  3. Emily March 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm Reply

    So- I made this last night for dinner for friends and it was amazing!!!! I was really very proud to be serving that. Thank you!

  4. Ellen March 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm Reply

    Jan, so you are saying that you put the drained rice in a pot and the water on top??? 3/4″? And it cooks and doesn’t burn?

  5. ellenfetu March 22, 2014 at 9:34 pm Reply

    Jan, hi. About the rice. You put drained rice in a dry pot and then put the water on TOP? And it cooks and doesn’t burn??

  6. Jan March 23, 2014 at 10:50 am Reply

    Hi Ellen,
    No worries about burning-the water fills in below, through and above the rice. The hardest part is not moving your finger. I had forgotten this method and my basmati rice was often mush.and that’s no treat for anyone. So glad I remembered and those mushy days are gone!

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