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Trey Trung Kroeung (Lemongrass Enrobed Catfish)
3 dried New Mex chiles
stems and seeds removed
1 tablespoon lemongrass minced
3 cloves garlic
2 medium shallots
4 dried Asian chiles -- see note
4 kaffir lime leaves -- see note
3 galangal root thinly sliced
1 pinches turmeric
1/2 cup water
4 8 oz catfish fillets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves finely julienne
Asian chiles, such as santaka or japones.
Kaffir limes leaves may be purchased in an Asian market.
Galangal root is available in Asian markets.
Soak the New Mexican chiles in water to soften; remove and drain. Place all the paste ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
Pan fry the catfish in the oil over high heat until firm, but not browned, turning once. Using a separate pan, cook the paste over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the aroma is released. Add the coconut milk, salt, and sugar.
Add the fish to the sauce and cook 5 more minutes. If the paste is too thick, add more water until the desired consistency is achieved. Serve with Jasmine rice and the Kaffir lime leaves.