South Indian Seafood Pies

, from Issue #49. August, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
South Indian Seafood Pies

These sumptuous pies are packed with seafood and bound in a delicately spiced coconut sauce.

Serves: 4


16 mussels, scrubbed
400 grams moist smoked fish
16 peeled raw prawns
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 long green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup coconut cream
½ cup mussel cooking liquid
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 tablespoon lime juice

To assemble
4 sheets pre-rolled butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
4 large shell on raw prawns, optional
nigella or sesame seeds

4 x 2 cup-capacity ovenproof baking dishes


Put the mussels and 1 tablespoon of water in a large saucepan. Cover and cook until the mussels have opened, discarding any that stay shut. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve, leaving any sandy bits in the base of the pan. Measure out ½ cup of the mussel cooking liquid for the sauce and set aside. Roughly chop the mussels.

Flake the fish into large pieces, discarding the skin and bones.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion, ginger, chilli and garlic with a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Don’t let the ginger catch on the base of the pan. Add a splash of water if needed. Stir in the turmeric and cumin and cook for 1 minute then add the coconut cream.

Mix the cornflour with a little of the mussel juice until smooth then add to the pan along with the remaining mussel juice. Cook for a few minutes until thickened. The sauce will be quite thick. Stir in the mussel meat, smoked fish and the raw prawns then the coriander and lime juice. Season if required. Cool.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

To serve: Cut out pastry tops that are two centimetres larger than the baking dishes. Divide the seafood mixture between the dishes. Brush one side of the pastry with beaten egg and place egg side down over the filling, pressing the pastry firmly onto the sides of the dishes to seal.

Cut a 3-4 cm long slit in the centre of each pie and gently push a prawn (if using) through the slit so its head and tail are facing upwards. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds.

Place the dishes on a baking tray and cook for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serves 4