A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
Craving ... a wonderful feeling to have when you can satisfy that but a torture when you can't. I have had this huge craving for Assam fish for quite a long time now which I had been trying to put out of my mind, without much success (like me trying to lose weight - I only ended gaining more instead of losing ). Fish is not my specialty - as you all remember the last time when I tried cooking fish, it didn't turned out quite right. So I try to avoid cooking anything that has scales and swim...but darn it, this Assam Fish soon started to even haunt me in my sleep - yes, I dreamt that I was happily slurping up the sauce and relishing on the fish! So I said to myself "come on, are you going to let a dead fish intimidate you for the rest of your life. A cooking ninja would never cower from a challenge." So I got 3 lovely fish the next day for dinner. First I gave my fishes a royal treatment - frontal and back massage with salt, then I had a little pep talk with them. I looked at them right into their eyes (not easy when they have one on each side) and said "Ok fish, I'm going to give you a nice aromatic spa treatment of lemon grass, galangal & other spices right now and you are going to come out smelling so good and tasting so sweet."
I was so darn excited that I managed to get my assam fish right and it tastes just like my mom's version (well, I still think mom's cook the best Assam fish). The sauce is very aromatic - the mackerel heightens the flavour of the sauce - great tasting of the spices mix with a spicy tint and a slight sourness - taste just right and it really opens up one's appetite. I love topping my rice with the sauce. My sister-in-law loves it, Pierre was less enthusiastic as he is not a big fan of fish to begin with.
I usually can make a big bowl of the paste, fry them till fragrant and then keep them in the refrigerator for later use. It comes in very handy when I have to do a last minute dinner entertainment. All I need to do is just defrost and the paste is ready.
I recently learned another new trick from my local Asian store lady - you can actually store the unused portion of galangal by slicing them into pieces, freeze them, then put them all in a plastic bag in the freezer. When in need, just take out the number of pieces you need for cooking.