This is the perfect supper on those days when a knife and fork seem like just too much work. It’s instantly comforting, but is lively enough to make one feel invigorated rather than stultified by eating it. And although to many, replacing the milk with coconut milk, dispensing with the flour and butter, the roux, altogether, and taking the Southeast Asian route rather than the traditional one, might seem an abomination, I love it so much better than the anyway more laborious-to-prepare original.
Children may prefer the lime reduced and the chile removed. I think it is perfection as it is.
Yield: Serves 4
3 cups chicken stock/broth (not instant)
1 lb baking potatoes or 2 medium-sized, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes to make 2½ cups
4 oz baby leeks, sliced into ½-inch lengths to make 1 cup
4 oz baby corn, cut into ¼-inch slices to make 1¼ cups
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground mace
l 14-oz can coconut milk
1 lb 4 oz skinless smoked cod fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup lime juice
8 oz small or medium frozen shrimp
1½ cups canned sweet corn, drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon table salt
1 long red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized pan. Cook the chopped potatoes, leeks, and baby corn in the stock with the bay leaves and mace for about 10 minutes or until tender.
Add the coconut milk, the chopped smoked fish, and the lime juice. Bring the pan back to a boil and let it simmer for a minute or so.
Tip in the shrimp and sweet corn and once again let it come back to a boil to heat them through. Season with the salt and then serve.
Decorate each bowl with some chopped chile and pungent, leafy cilantro.