For the fish
- Gut and clean the fish thoroughly, then cut into medium sized pieces. In a pot, bring water to boil, then add fish to boil for another 5-10 mins until fully cooked.
- Drain water and remove fish from the pot. Set aside to cool.
- Once fish is cool, take off the skin and debone the fish. Gently mash the fish meat with your fingers to a mince-like texture. Discard bones and skin and set fish aside.
For the curry paste
- Cut off the ends of the lemongrass and remove the outer few layers. Finely slice the lemongrass and turmeric (if using fresh turmeric).
- Using pestle and mortar (or a food processor), add a pinch of salt to the lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, and peppercorns, and pound to a smooth paste for about 20 mins.
- Then add shrimp paste and pound mixture for another 5 mins. Set aside.
For the curry
- In a large pot or sauce pan, add coconut milk and curry paste. Cook over medium heat.
- Stir gently, and only in one direction; making sure all of the curry paste dissolves into the coconut milk.
- Add the minced fish, fish balls (optional) and add salt to taste. Tear kaffir lime leaves in half and add them to the curry.
- Keep stirring and turn the heat down when it starts to boil. Avoid rapid boiling the curry as it will curdle and separate the coconut milk. Keep stirring gently for about 5 mins once it comes to a boil.
- Taste test for flavour and add more salt if desired.
- Prepare the rice vermicelli according to instructions on the packet.
- In a shallow bowl, place a serve or 100g of noodles. Ladle curry over the noodles, including fish balls.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and vegetables and a wedge of lime.