It's a one pot (or wok) meal that comes together in a flash. There's minimal prep (especially if you make the paste -- rehydrated red chile, shallot, and scallion -- in advance, but that only takes a minute or two). You can use any type of white fish. I've used Rockfish (aka striped bass) because it's local. Shellfish, such as shrimp, clams, and/or mussels would work just as well.
This fish curry is slightly spicy (just a tad, add more or less dried chiles as you see fit), a little bit salty (from the fish sauce), vaguely sweet (from the coconut milk), and incredibly fragrant (from the [Kaffir] lime leaves). Oh man, those lime leaves really make the dish pop. And I love just about anything with fish sauce (it will become your new best friend in the kitchen, if it's not already).
All ingredients should be readily accessible, with the exception of the lime leaves, which can be somewhat difficult to track down. That being said, the lime leaves are a major flavor component of this dish and should not be skipped. The leaves are intensely aromatic. They have a distinct lime-y and floral-y note.
I got my lime leaves at Whole Foods, but just about any Asian market should carry them. Lime leaves freeze well.
FYI, for any pottery addicts out there like myslelf, these bowls are from one of my favorite potters Vivian Johnson. Vivian is in her 90s and still going strong. Love, love, love her work.
The shopping list: fish, coconut milk (full-fat), green onions, shallot, dried red chile, lime leaves, fish sauce, herbs to garnish (cilantro, Thai basil).
Skin, debone (or have your fishmonger do so), and cube the fish...
Serve with (brown) rice...