How does one decide what to cook first after returning from the culinary journey of a lifetime? Armed with a serious stash of juicy vanilla pods, the most perfect cinnamon quills and nutmegs still encased with their bright red mace, I set out to recreate one of the tastiest dishes of my adventure to the seychelles; a traditional Creole seafood curry. Creole cooking is as diverse as the many cultures the island is home to, with Indian, Asian, middle eastern and african cooking adding their finest flavour characteristics to the melting pot. This recipe celebrates the abundance of flavour the 115 islands have to offer; coconut from the palms that sway along the white beaches, spices harvested from the lush and steamy jungles where vanilla orchids, nutmeg, clove and pepper trees flourish in the thick humid air as well as the rich variety of seafood and tropical fish found in the warm indian ocean. It is best served with steamed basmati rice, crispy onions, poppadoms, spiced lentils and fruity chutney. The subtly spiced coconut sauce which forms the base of this curry would feel equally at home coating chicken or roast veggies or even served as a side sauce to bring a bit of the seychelles to your dinner table, until of course you can experience it for yourself!
Seychelles Seafood curry
Recipe courtesy of Constance Lemuria hotel
20ml oil plus more, for deep-frying
80g garlic cloves, crushed
80g ginger, peeled and grated
80g onions, finely chopped
50g curry powder
20g saffron powder or a large pinch of saffron threads
20 cinnamon leaves or a few bay leaves
2 x tins coconut milk
4-8 calamari tubes
4 pieces of fish (about 4cm cubes)
flour, for dusting
Heat the oil and saute the garlic, ginger and onions until soft and translucent. Stir in the spices and and coconut milk and simmer for 1 hour. Blend to form a smooth sauce, if desired. Season all the seafood and deep-fry in batches until crispy. Add the seafood to the curry sauce and simmer for 3 minutes.
Serve the curry in a bowl with steamed basmati rice, sambals, chutneys, spiced lentils and poppadoms on the side.