Saturday, 4 June 2011

Seafood curry with coconut, lime and curry leaves

Too long a break from food writing has left me with a backlog of recipes as long as a Nigella Lawson cookbook, all needing photographed and written up. So many of my experiments this year have been influenced by a visit to Thailand earlier this year, and I am loving getting to grips with a vast array of complex curry flavours and spices.

Another spring curry, chilli-hot and lime-sour, warming against the incredibly changable weather but light and healthy. The spices are freshly ground, and richly aromatic, the sauce is incredibly moreish and the end result tastes authentic and makes your kitchen smell like a Thai street market (in a good way).

This is based on another Skye Gyngell recipe, and what sounds like a lengthy list of ingredients can actually be found in many corner shops these days, (even our wee local village store) and takes no more time to prepare than an average stir fry. Anyone you feed this to will be bowled over by the flavour: this is probably the most beautiful curry I have ever made.

Seafood Curry with Coconut, Lime and Curry Leaves

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
large bunch of coriander, stems chopped and leaves reserved
3 garlic cloves, crushed with a pinch of salt
2 red chillies, chopped (seeds kept)
10 fresh curry leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp palm sugar
2 x 340g tinned plum tomatoes
800g large prawns
400ml tin coconut milk

In a heavy based saucepan, melt the butter then add the onions.
Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
In a separate small frying pan, dry roast the mustard, fennel and coriander seeds gently till they become aromatic. Check to make sure that you do not over roast otherwise this will give the curry a bitter taste. Remove from heat, and while still warm, grind to a rough powder in a mortar and pestle.
Add the spices to the onions along with most of the chopped coriander, garlic, chillies and curry leaves.
Tear the kaffir lime leaves into pieces and add to the pan.
Cook for 10 minutes.
Add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar, stir and turn up the heat a little. Add the tomatoes and cook for around 15 minutes.
Taste the sauce, add more lime, sugar or fish sauce if needed to adjust to taste. To finish, stir in the coconut milk and then add the prawns. Bring to the boil, cook for 3-4 minutes until the prawns are pink. Sprinkle with reserved coriander and serve with flatbreads or over rice. 


  1. even better with fresh tomatoes, no? sounds delicious..

  2. Hi Alison - yes fresh tomatoes when in season would be fab :-)