To celebrate National Curry Week, the nice people at La Porte Des Indes restaurant in London (who we recently visited) have sent us a recipe for a delicious, rich, seafood stew. A favourite in the Indian region of Pondicherry, the dish is usually eaten with steamed rice, and you can use whatever seafood you like – whether that’s a bag of frozen seafood from the supermarket, or fresh from the fishmonger.
Pondicherry was part of the French colonial empire for almost 300 years, until it was handed back to the Indian people; the name of this dish reflects these colonial times, and even though it’s a curry, it’s fragrant rather than hot and spicy.
500 g assortment of seafood: prawns, mussels, scallops, crab claws, squid and fish steaks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
½ Spanish onion, chopped
200 ml (7 fl oz) coconut milk
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander, to garnish
4 dry red chillies
2½ cm (1″) length finger of ginger, peeled and chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
6 black peppercorns
1 tbsp malt vinegar
For the paste, pound or process all the ingredients together until they are homogeneous.
Shell, trim and clean the seafood as required. Heat the oil in a pan and add the curry leaves followed by the chopped onion. Stir-fry until the onion is translucent, add the paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
Gently mix in the seafood except for the fish and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, bring it to the boil, add the fish, lower the heat and simmer until the fish is cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with the lemon juice and salt to taste.
Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.