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Keralan seafood pies

Serves 4

Keralan seafood pies

recipes and photographs taken from cinnamon kitchen: the cookbook by vivek singh, photography by lara holmes (absolute press, £25). to buy the book at a special price, turn to reader offers on page 129

Inspired by a Keralan favourite, moily – a fish curry made with coconut milk, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger – this recipe highlights the beauty of its simplicity. Being so simple, it’s also demanding in that the fish must be extremely fresh for the dish to be fully appreciated.

Ingredients

  • 500g live mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (discard any that are open but do not snap shut when tapped)
  • 250g peeled and deveined raw prawns
  • 200g undyed smoked haddock fillet, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 200g squid tubes or cuttlefish, cleaned and scored
  • 2 green chillies, slit lengthways
  • 500g puff pastry, rolled into 4 x 16cm circles, each about 3mm thick
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
  • black onion seeds, to garnish

For the sauce

  • 2tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • a sprig of fresh curry leaves (about 20 leaves)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into fine strips
  • 6 green chillies, slit lengthways
  • ½tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½tsp rice flour
  • 500ml extra-thick coconut milk (if using canned milk, separate the thick milk from the thin)

For the salad

  • 100g sprouted fenugreek seeds
  • 100g sprouted mung beans
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and cut into 5mm cubes
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and cut into 5mm dice
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½tsp sugar

Method

First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add 12 curry leaves, onion, ginger and green chillies and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the turmeric, followed by the rice flour, stirring to mix in the flour evenly. Add the coconut milk and 1tsp salt.
      Add the mussels and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the mussels open up and the sauce begins to turn glossy. Remove the mussels from the pan and discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Remove the remainder from their shells and set aside, and discard the shells. Continue simmering the sauce until very thick. Remove from the heat and set aside. When cool, stir in the shelled mussels and remaining seafood.
      Divide the mixture among 4 shallow cast-iron skillets or ovenproof dishes and sprinkle each pie with a couple of curry leaves and half a green chilli. Cover each skillet with a puff pastry circle, brush with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the black onion seeds. Transfer to a fan-assisted oven preheated to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 and bake for 10–12 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. The pies need to be cooked as briefly as possible. In a conventional oven the pies will cook more slowly, so roll the pastry more thinly to help reduce the cooking time (otherwise the fish will overcook).
      Meanwhile, make the salad. Place the sprouted seeds and beans, tomato, green chilli if using, and cucumber in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, ½tsp salt and sugar to make a dressing and combine with the diced ingredients.