Spring halibut curry with garlic gai lan & asparagus

May 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm (Asian, Recipes)

One of the perks of an Alaskan spring (rounding out the top three are sunlight and above-zero temperatures) is the abundance of fresh fish.  Lot of salmon, of course, but it’s halibut that we are making sure to get our fill of before winter comes around again.  A firm, white-fleshed fish with a sweet, un-fishy flavour, it has quickly become one of our favorites and the target of many a fishing trip planned for the summer.

The low fat content of halibut makes it easy to overcook, so we’re gently poaching the fish fillets in a fragrant, coconut curry broth to keep it moist.  Served with baby gailan and asparagus, simply stir-fried with garlic, what better way to make use of spring produce?

When it comes to curry, of course it would be great to be able to make your own curry paste from scratch.  But given most of us are time-poor, who really wants to be messing around with fresh turmeric, soaking tamarind or roasting shrimp paste.  For convenience, we generally find store-bought paste to be fine as a base, and it’s fairly easy to amp up up the flavor with fresh ginger, coriander, garlic, shallots, chili…..anything fresh you have on hand to add some brightness.

Halibut Curry

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 fillets of halibut, ~1lb (450g) total
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and julienned
  • 3tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, leaves picked  and reserved, stalks roughly chopped
  • 4 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 green chili, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3tbsp coconut oil
  • 2tbsp fish sauce
  • 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 bunch baby gai lan, washed, stalks separated and halved
  • 8 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped into 2-in lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (not crushed, you want some chunks)
  • 2tbsp olive oil (peanut oil, if you have it)

Halibut Curry - Ingredients


  1. Remove the skin from the halibut, wash, pat dry and set aside.
  2. Place 1 clove garlic, cilantro stalks, shallots, turmeric and chili into a small food processor.  Process until finely chopped, almost paste-like.
  3. Heat 3tbsp coconut oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat, add the curry paste and garlic/shallot mixture and fry until fragrant (~3mins).  Add half a cup of water (the mixture will spit), the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and coconut milk.  Adjust the seasoning to taste as the amounts required will depend on the paste you are using.
  4. Reduce the heat to bring the broth to a simmer, then add the red pepper and nestle the fish fillets into the broth (it will not completely cover the fish).  Cover and poach the fish for ~5mins, before flipping over carefully and cooking for a further 3-4 mins or until done.  Gently test with a fork to check for done-ness; the flesh should just flake apart when a fork is inserted into the middle of the fillet.
  5. While the fish is cooking, heat 2tbsp oil in a flat frypan over medium-high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the finely chopped garlic and fry for ~20 seconds before adding the gai lan and asparagus to the pan.  Stir-fry for ~5-6 minutes, spreading the vegetables out over the pan to develop some color, until just tender.  The moisture on the washed leaves should generate sufficient steam to help the cooking process along; add a few drops of water if it dries out too quickly, but not too much or the vegetables will stew.
  6. Divide the fish, red pepper and broth between 2 bowls and serve topped with reserved cilantro leaves and the stir-fried gailan/asparagus.




Permalink Leave a Comment

Supernormal : 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

February 21, 2016 at 11:38 am (Asian, Melbourne CBD) (, , , , )

A heady aroma of spices and caramel signals the arrival of dessert.  Still warm in a cast iron skillet is a moist pudding,  studded with chunks of sweet pear and candied ginger, its deep molasses-brown colouring imparted by gingerbeer that leaves a lingering hum of heat on the palate.  Served with a silky, vanilla-flecked cream, it’s hard to put down our spoons, but for the parfait still calling for our attention.  If there is such thing as a cult dessert (surprisingly yet to be defined in the urban dictionary of this food-obsessed generation), then this is it; the Snickers-bar chocolate, peanut and caramel formula, re-imagined as an ice cream cake.  It’s a highlight of the meal, which is a big call given a menu that, in true Andrew McConnell form, does not miss one step.

Supernormal - Ginger Pear Pudding

Supernormal - Peanut Butter Parfait

Taking the baton from Golden Fields, Supernormal’s Japanese/Korean/Chinese inspired menu is one that highlights the versatility of Asian flavours.  It handles subtlety and simplicity without breaking a sweat – cucumber freshens up a classic tuna/avocado pairing, with fried saltbush for that kick of salt, while silky sheaths of firm sea bream need nothing more than white soy and ginger – then expertly turns up the flavour dial with juicy, chicken-prawn dumplings doused in smokey chili oil, and intense, plum-dressed roast duck.  It’s also got addictive snacks in abundance; we would not be the first to completely overdo it on sweet, fried rice cakes after first filling up on tamari-baked seeds (a.k.a. umami flavour bombs).

Supernormal - Seeds

Supernormal - Tuna Avo Cucumber Saltbush

First-time visitors may be inclined to stick to familiar territory; dumplings or bao, they’re all good.  The banquet does the thinking for you, stepping through the most popular items, including white cut chicken and wombok salad (if only they could bottle that sesame dressing), the famous, Golden Fields lobster rolls and, of course, that peanut butter dessert number.  A main course of tender, slow-cooked lamb shoulder is served in rather generous portions, making this, at $65 a head, a great value option.

Supernormal - White Cut Chicken Salad

Supernormal - Lobster Roll

Those who venture outside the well-worn favourites might be rewarded with golden-fried sticky rice cubes (arancini, Japanese-style), tossed with sweet soy mushrooms, or maybe crispy-skinned pigeon if it happens to be on the specials list.  Do defer to the knowledge of the staff if you just can’t choose.  They are also best placed to help you make the most of an extensive drinks menu, featuring mostly Australian and European wines, a good range of sake and shochu, along with a two-page whisky selection.

Supernormal - Mushrooms Rice Cake

Dining at Supernormal is a relaxed affair, helped along by a bright, airy, Scandi-Japanese fitout.  Katakana light-box signage, Pocky vending machine and cute Japanese table accessories add some quirky character to the sleek, minimalist space.  Best seats in the house are likely to be at the long steel bar, offering a view to the kitchen.  Unless, of course, you are one to succumb to severe cases of food envy.

Supernormal - Dining Room

Supernormal -SuNo

Supernormal - Entrance

Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »

%d bloggers like this: