I cherish the friendship and love our friends in Madison have shown us as we enjoyed our last meals before our move. You know who you are, and please know that we can't wait for our next reunion in Seattle or Madison!
One of our last memories of Madison is when Pakou and Shri came over to give us a much needed boost during our last few hours before the long haul. Not only did they make a huge difference in helping us pack and clean without us asking, but Pakou also gifted us a basket of ingredients for the Kapoon Noodles that we never got to make together. We had grand plans of cooking together ever since we became neighbors, but we simply ran out of time. This was an incredibly thoughtful gift. I hope I did justice to this dish!
I gave the dish a Pacific Northwest twist by using cod instead of catfish and adding some king crab meat that happened to be on sale. Even with the seemingly elevated seafood ingredients, I still preferred the traditional bone-in catfish version that Pakou shared with us back in Madison, though Mike struggled with the bones. The bones from the catfish created a slightly more gelatinous consistency in the broth that made the flavors adhere to the noodles better.
Pacific Northwest Kapoon Noodles adapted from Pakou
4 cod fillets, cut into 2 inch pieces
King crab meat, shell removed and reserved
1/2 can red curry paste
1/2 can - 1 can coconut milk
Bamboo shoots, sliced into 3 inch strands
Kaffir lime leaves/Galangal (optional)
Fish sauce, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Rice vermicelli noodles, cooked and drained
First removed the king crab meat from the shell and boiled the shells in 4 cups of water. Chill the crab meat in the fridge until ready to use for garnish. Remove the shells after 20 minutes and boiled the cod pieces in the broth for 15 minutes. Take out the fish and reserve it in a bowl.
King Crab Meat
Broth made from crab shells and then fish
Cook half a can of red curry in 2 Tbs of oil in a wok until fragrant. If using kaffir leaves or galangal, you can cook them in the curry at this point. Add half a can of coconut milk and stir the mixture thoroughly. Once the mixture is heated through, add the fish to the curry. Add a couple ladles of fish broth into the curry until you've reached the desired amount of soup for the noodles. Add more coconut milk if you would like a thicker consistency. Once the curry soup comes to a simmer, add the bamboo and season with fish sauce and a little pinch of sugar.
Cooking the curry and stirring in coconut milk
Fish, broth, and bamboo added
Portion out rice noodles in what I like to call "pho bowls," and ladle the soup and seafood into each.
Top off each bowl with the shredded cabbage, cilantro, crab meat, and green onions.