Longs Peak as seen from Black Lake
Wow! What a winter it has been here in Colorado. We have been getting snow non stop in the last 10 days or so. Even though I am one of the "front rangers" who commute to enjoy the snow it has been truly incredible... the best powder ever in Summit County this season. Yes, pick a weekday to go up there... weekend traffic is just NO FUN...
About two weeks ago my husband and I left the ski Saturday crowds and enjoyed the peacefulness of Rocky Mountain National Park. I think this park is magical... I did not use the word beautiful on purpose here... it is magical in a sense that the peaks have really odd shapes; they are craggy and rugged and they just form unusual formations. The winters are quite cruel up there; with low temperatures and
super windy conditions... which was the case when we went but having the right gear made the difference. We started at Glacier Basin trailhead and hiked all the way to Black Lake. The beginning of the trail is easy to follow; to Mills Lake. After that it is quite tricky to find the snow covered trail to Black Lake; the trail starts at the very tip of the lake; slightly to the left. The rangers cleared some of the fallen trees from a few years ago when high winds left a lot of blowdown. The trail goes thru the woods but eventually opens up to some fairly steep meadows. The lake is nestled on the top of the steep slope. The magnificent Longs Peak is just above to the east.
It has been a cold and windy day... but it was so worth it; just bundle up!
This tilapia curry sauce is just the perfect ending on a cold snowy day outdoors.
The great thing about the curry sauce is that most of the work can be done the day before, marinating. It is very quick to cook afterward; so convenient for a hungry stomach after a long day outdoors!
Tilapia is a white fish with firm texture which is essential for this stew; cod with its flaky texture will fall apart.
Tamarind is a brown pod that grows on the tamarind tree; it literally looks like a bean pod. Inside of the pod there are inedible seeds; the pulp is what we are after. The pulp has a tangy taste and is widely used in Indian cuisine in curries. The pulp is available in easy to use paste or I like to buy tamarind concentrate in a liquid form. If you cannot get tamarind in your local store substitute tamarind paste with dried apricots; create a paste from about 2-4 dried apricots and 1-2 Tbs water.(small food processor works great for this or mince the apricots and "paste" them with a knife).

Tilapia Curry Sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small green chiles, seeded and minced
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbs tamarind concentrate or 1 Tbs tamarind paste mixed with 1 Tbs water or apricot substitute (see above)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lb tilapia, cut into chunks
2 Tbs coconut oil
2 shallots, minced
1 can coconut milk
1/2 c - 1 c vegetable broth
1 -2 Tbs kudzu powder (optional)
chopped cilantro for garnish

Toss the fish with garlic, chiles and the spices. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour; best overnight.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and saute for about 3 min, until golden. Add the coconut milk and the broth; stir to combine. Add the fish, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 min until fish is cooked thru.

If you like your stew a little thicker (like I do) dissolve kudzu powder in 1/4 c vegetable broth (or water) and add to the sauce. Boil for another 2 minutes or so to thicken the sauce.
Garnish with cilantro and adjust seasoning if needed.

Stay warm and enjoy!



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