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Try this delicious recipe by Stevie Parle, demonstrated at Langham Melbourne MasterClass during the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.


  • 10 coconuts

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 packs fresh curry leaves (about 40 leaves)

  • 4 red onions, sliced into half moons

  • Salt

  • 200g ginger

  • 4 cloves garlic, green sprout removed

  • 3 medium red chillies

  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

  • 3 tbsp ground coriander

  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder

  • Vinegar to taste (we use red wine vinegar, any delicate

  • Wine vinegar is fine)

  • 75g per person of squash/pumpkin (onion squash or violini squash are best)

  • 160g per person of white fish fillets (cod works well)


  • 1.

    To make coconut milk crack coconuts, peel, and grate fine (or put in food processor/blender).

  • 2.

    Boil water. Make 3 extractions: pour 1L boiling water over coconut, let steep for at least half an hour. Strain through muslin to extract milk. Keep coconut. Repeat with 1.5L water. Strain.

  • 3.

    Repeat with 1.5L water. Strain again. (Keep each extraction separate)

  • 4.

    Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan, crackle the curry leaves briefly in the oil, then add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook gently until the onion is soft.

  • 5.

    Chop ginger and garlic, slice chillies on an angle, add to onions. Continue cooking until all is soft.

  • 6.

    Pop mustard seeds in a separate dry pan, grind to a powder with the pepper, mix with coriander and turmeric.

  • 7.

    Add spices to onion base, stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

  • 8.

    Turn up the heat slightly and add the vinegar, stirring to release any sticky bits from the bottom. Next add your coconut milks, you may not need all of the third extraction.

  • 9.

    Bring liquid to the boil, add squash/pumpkin cut into slightly bigger than bite size pieces.

  • 10.

    Cook at a simmer until squash is soft but not falling apart, approximately half an hour.

  • 11.

    Remove from liquid.

  • 12.

    To finish, season your piece of fish with salt and poach gently in the liquid until done, serve along with a couple of pieces of squash and boiled/steamed rice on the side.


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