This easy recipe is loosely based on the famous Caribbean fish stew and substitutes turmeric and paprika for the more traditional achiote (also known as annatto). Cilantro stems — too often underused and underestimated — and spicy habaneros pack a punch and depth of flavor in the curry paste. This version is fairly mild, but you can increase or decrease the amount of habanero chile depending on your spice tolerance.
3 small onions, peeled
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems, plus chopped leaves for garnish
2 large garlic cloves
1 red habanero or 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded, depending on heat preference
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 (14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch slices
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 to ½ pounds), peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces
2 portions Pacific cod (or any white fish), (8 to 10 ounces each)cut into 2-inch chunks Available In Our Seafood Subscription Box
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Lime wedges, for serving
Cooked long grain rice, for serving
Make the Curry Paste
On a cutting board, thinly slice 2 of the onions and cut the remaining onion into quarters.
In a food processor combine the quartered onion, cilantro stems, garlic, habanero, paprika, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk and pulse to form a curry paste.
Make the Stew
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers, sweet potatoes, curry paste, and remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender but not falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes.
Pat the fish dry, season with salt, and add it to the pot, nestling it into the sauce. Cover and simmer until the fish is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves, and serve with lime wedges and steamed rice on the side.
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Pair it Up
A pinot gris or gewürztraminer from the Alsace region of France will have great floral notes, a hint of sweetness, and the right amount of acidity for creamy chowder.