Cacao Curry and Processing Pain

Admittedly this looks a bit messy. But, by the time I thought to take a picture, there was not much left. It's ahi (tuna) steamed with onion in banana leaves and topped with my take on a cacao nibs curry.

What starts as stiff joints, pain and numbness in the hands finally takes me to Honolulu for an exam and cortisone shot. On the good side, our trip to the big city included dinner at Indigo, where the son of a friend works. A delightful and inspiring restaurant with various indoor and courtyard eating areas and three bars. Decorated with an eclectic whimsey and strong South East Asian influences, Indigo has almost the feeling of a seraglio (or what I'd imagine anyway). From the unobtrusive street front, you would never guess all this was going on inside. The food, billed as Eurasian cuisine, was terrific as well.

You might have guessed by now that I had fish with a cocoa curry, and yes, also served in a banana leaf. Chef Glenn Chu's creation was delicious, but much more subtle. I decided to try for a distinctly spicy, with overt cacao taste in my version last night. And, that turned out to be a nice contrast to the rather bland ahi.

I feel so blessed, we also had brunch at Sam Choy's and got to try their pastry chef's signature macarons - haupia and papaya. Here I'd just been reading a few food bloggers' takes on macarons, David Lebovitz for one, and had decided I'd not be making anything that complicated. Though, as a later amendment, I found this recipe, which looks yummy and not too very difficult. Wow! Not to mention another high point - next morning at my all time favorite place for breakfast - it's called Orchids, at the Halekulani Hotel. God is kind. There is pain, yes, but some awesome stuff as well. I won't even discuss the shopping.

bright lights, big city

Cacao Curry Recipe

2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 cardamom pods, opened and seeds removed
1/2 Hawaiian chili pepper (or jalapeno - how hot do you want it?)
2 teaspoons minced raw ginger or galangal
2 teaspoons minced lemongrass (white part)
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup thick coconut milk

Process, or pound the spices in a mortar, fine as you'd like - I left mine a bit crunchy, but next time will probably try a smoother blend.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan til melted, then add the ground spices mixture, coriander and cinnamon. Heat, stirring until fragrant, then add 1/4 cup white wine, reduce for about 15 minutes while your fish (or chicken breasts) cook, add the coconut cream and continue simmering at low heat.  Add the fish and stir to coat.  Note - the white wine and coconut cream were added in a later version.


Sunny said...

ohhh sounds yummy!

Claudia Riley said...

It was, but I'm still fine-tuning the recipe for an entry to a blog feature: http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/2009/01/don-miss-premiere-of-dinner-and-movie.html
if that link works. The movie, of course, is Chocolat.