Khaiped’s Kitchen | Tom Kati
Some days it seems like there is no respite from the heat. But as nature is wont to do, in the harshest of climes there can still be joy to be found. If you have a tamarind tree, you will notice that beautiful new leaves are shooting and this is the perfect time to pluck them to make a coconut milk with salted fish and young tamarind soup.
When we were young we used to always have a dried salted fish hanging in bunches in our kitchen, slicing off pieces to use in various dishes, usually the heads left at the end. Once the tamarind leaves come out in the heat, this would be the time to take all those fish heads and boil them in coconut milk and long beans. The soup would taste a little tart, a little salty with a hint of sweetness. The fish would offer up a distinctive flavour while the beans would be so soft they were almost mushy.
This dish is hard to come by these days, but there are modern interpretations to be had so we gave it a go:
Ingredients: one dried snakehead fish, one large cup of coconut cream mixed with diluted coconut cream, 5-6 shallots, palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind juice, garlic, sliced long means, 4-5 grilled large chillies and a handful of new tamarind leaves.
Using a mortar and pestle pound the shallots, pepper and garlic.
Boil the coconut cream then add the pounded mix, then add the sliced fish and beans. Come to boil again and season with fish sauce and palm sugar.
Once the beans are very soft, add the tamarind juice, a little at a time, then add the tamarind leaves.
Flavour to taste and eat with steaming jasmine rice.