Saturday seafood

January 11, 2010

Funny how you can have a groaning bookshelf full of cookbooks and still sit round wondering what to possibly cook for dinner, isn’t it? Which is where the weekend papers come in (I barely read them really – just flick to the books, which are hardly there anyway these days, and the recipes)…

So Saturday’s dinner was this seafood curry, a thrown-together version of Terry Durack’s Good Weekend kingfish curry. I used prawns and barramundi instead of kingfish, because I decided on dinner just before five o’clock, the perfectly adequate fish shop across the road had no kingfish, and it was way too hot to bother getting in the car to go to the best local seafood place we have, Faros Bros fish market (it’s a beauty).

I am an ignoramus about seafood generally, being an inland-bred girl, and am sure barramundi is not supposed to be great for curries – too delicate, or you overwhelm it or something, but it was lovely.

My version was given extra oomph because I had made & frozen a prawn stock which the Empress urged me to do after we ate these fantastic Neil Perry marinated barbecued prawns with her & the emperor on Christmas Eve, and she said the grilled shells were too good to waste. I can’t tell you how amazing that stock was – gave the whole thing a deep richness it wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Anyhoo – here’s what we did for our Saturday seafood curry, shopped for at five, eaten by seven. It was more than enough for two, probably more adequate for four non-greedy-grunters, so our (ahem, small) leftovers are safely in the freezer for some midweek surprise sometime.

Seafood curry in a slowish sort of hurry

  • 100ml rice bran oil
  • 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 8 curry leaves
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 3cm knob ginger, finely chopped
  • coriander roots & stems, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • salt
  • 1 fresh birdseye chilli (only because we had a single one on our teeeeeny chilli bush – use as many as you like)
  • ½ cup tomato passata
  • 1 – 2  cups prawn stock (use water or chicken stock in its place)
  • 1-2  handfuls frozen peas
  • 100g shelled green prawns
  • 2 barramundi fillets, cut into three or four pieces each
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • ¼ bunch chopped coriander
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • Basmati rice
  1. Heat the oil, and when hot toss in mustard & fenugreek seeds & curry leaves. When they start to pop & crackle, add the onion, garlic & coriander stems, cook a few minutes till translucent.
  2. Add other spices, passata & stock, and simmer gently, covered, for around 20 -30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook some Basmati rice & leave to fluff.
  4. When you think the rice is ready, toss in the peas and cover to cook for two or three minutes.
  5. Chuck in the prawns & slip in the fish pieces, turn the heat to low (or even off, if you aren’t quite ready to serve),add the dollop of yoghurt, and leave a few minutes.
  6. When you’re quite ready to eat – table set, rice fluffed & on the table with the lime & the glasses ‘o wine – up ze fire (as an old Italian friend used to say) enough to ensure the fish is just cooked, then put the curry in a bowl.
  7. Sprinkle with coriander & and take to ze table.
  8. Serve with flourish and flush of pride.

* By the way, the rice here is served in a beautiful wooden bowl given to me at New Year’s by Miss Jane J, she of Ali’s mention in an earlier comment. Isn’t it gorgeous? Did you get any good kitchenish presents for Christmas? Do tell. And if you got any shockers, even better!


  1. A ubiquitous but cute yellow metal lemon squeezer from my 13 year old foodie son. (Bless him, he was persuaded by his father that the earrings he bought me neeed another present to go with them!) He bought me a mezzaluna and matching chopping board for my birthday. This is a child for whom I had to buy Nigella and Jamie Oliver videos for when he was in primary school.

  2. This curry looks delish! I normally make prawn stock with raw shells, interested that you used the grilled ones with so much success.

    I got the gorgeous Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden Companion and my annual delicious subscription from my lovely mum, so I am a very happy girl!

  3. P.S. – I’ve been re-reading The Submerged Cathedral and thought you might be happy to know I cried (again!) at the final reunion whilst on the packed train from Tempe to the city this morning!

    On a food theme, the imagery you used to describe Jocelyn scaling Martin’s gift of the fish is beautiful – “her moving hands braceleted with the silver skins of his gift” – it changed fish scaling for me forever!

  4. That sound so simple and delicious! I struggle to come up with tasty seafood ideas or even simple dinners. Hence my current cookbook challenge also. Extending my repertoire, so to speak.

    I actually got a flip video camera for xmas (still in transit) and a bottle of Coco Madmoiselle. And my mother in law gave me a hand screen printed apron.

  5. Hmm, you kids cleaned up at Christmas! Judy, your boy is just the kind of kid we like round here – perhaps he should send us a few recipes himself… excellent work.

    Mrs P, I love that book (Stephanie’s, not mine!) and get it out at least once or twice a week. And you are a doll for your kind words about The Submerged Cathedral, thank you. Not so sure about that scaly bracelet now though … (smelly?!)

    Reemski, your prezzies are tres glamorous! Am glad to hear of apron though, to get back to basics. Actually, I must post on aprons some time; I love them. Does everybody use an apron? I can’t stand cooking without one to wipe my hands on every five minutes.

  6. David cooked the Seafood curry on Tuesday night. We loved it. He’s not used to recipes with this many ingredients, but with a little assistance he managed.
    I also cooked the chic pea fritters on another night. Yumm! Didn’t use all the mixture so a couple of days later made some small rolls and rolled them in sesame seeds. thanks for all the Tofu hints – we’ve had this a few times since the tofu post.

  7. I hesitate to raise the issue of time travel in relation to seafood. But how else can one explain the presence of Oystershuck-poster Stephanie C- S in a 1968 cookery photo on page 6 SMH Summer Herald?

    Nice hat, Steph. And as Pat Lovell is saying,”Oh great, iceberg lettuce.”

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