Indonesian Mussell & Snapper

Curry with Fresh Turmeric

This rich seafood curry is built around an aromatic coconut milk broth enriched with fresh, fragrant herbs and spices including fresh turmeric, which looks like very bright orange ginger, but smaller, and has a distinctive warm, full-bodied flavour with a hint of pine to the aroma when raw.  Once cooked, the flavour mellows to impart an earthy richness to the broth that marries beautifully with the mussells and is counterbalanced by the lemony flavour of the kaffir lime leaf.  Serve in bowls with white rice, or double the amount of water and coconut milk and add noodles for a lovely Asian noodle soup.
Serves: 4 - 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

One eggplant, quartered lengthwise and sliced into wedges
Oil for frying
kaffir lime leaves
270ml can Ayam coconut milk
270ml water
Two zucchinis, thickly sliced
snapper cutlets, cut into large chunks and bones removed
1kg mussells (discard any that are open before cooking, as they are dead and may not be fresh)
One punnet of cherry tomatoes

To serve:
Leaves from 1 bunch coriander
1 bunch thai basil (optional)
Wedges of lemon (optional)
Indonesian Mussell & Snapper Curry with fresh Turmeric
Curry Paste Ingredients:
2 red cayenne chillies, seeds removed (for a mild curry, replace with ½ red capsicum)
1 large knob of ginger
Turmeric equivalant to twice the quantity of ginger used (or 1 level tsp dried turmeric)
3 cloves of garlic
1 large red onion
Roots and lower half of stalks from a bunch of coriander (wash very well to remove all grit and be sure to avoid any cotton wool or other growth medium that may be in the roots)


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry eggplant until golden. Set aside.
Coarsely chop all the curry paste ingredients and blend to a paste. If you do not have a blender, or for a more rustic texture, pound to a paste in a mortar and pestle and separately, finely chop the onion.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same (now empty) saucepan and when quite hot (but not smoking), add the curry paste (and onions if separate) and fry, stirring fairly often, until fragrant and beginning to caramelise slightly (become golden).
Add kaffir lime leaves and stir to heat through. Add coconut milk and water and bring to the boil. This is a good time to coarsely chop your coriander and thai basil leaves and put them in a small serving bowl for people to sprinkle over the curry.
Stir in zucchini, mussells and snapper chunks and simmer with the lid on until fish is just cooked and mussells have opened (about 10 minutes, but go by sight rather than relying on a timer to avoid overcooking your seafood). Stir through whole cherry tomatoes and fried eggplant.
Serve in large bowls spooned over steaming white rice, sprinkled with your fresh chopped herbs.
*Recipe by Elise Ruthenbeck