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Kerala’s Ways Fish Moilee (Curry)

Chef Challenge Kerala’s Ways Seafood Moilee (Curry)



Lovely weather we’ve been having in Melbourne lately, isn’t it?

The blustery winds, the sheets of rain, the frozen fingertips and noses… All mean one word to me: curry.

According to this month’s Edible Adventures Chef Challenger Mischa Tropp however, “curry” does not mean what I think it does.

In fact, inviting someone to cook a curry is about as good as ordering a casserole… It basically means “sauce”. It’s the specifics you should be looking at – Rogan Josh, Makhani, Tika and, in this case, Moilee (a coconut fish curry stemming from Goa).

So when I asked him to come on stage and teach us how to “make a curry”, this Melbourne local with a hippie Jewish dad and Indian mum from the South-Western Indian seaside province of Kerala taught us a lot more than that.

For one thing, I learnt the importance of caramelized spices – something that should be done low and slow, rather than speeding through like I normally would have.

For another, I learnt that frying them off using coconut oil (coconut is used prolifically across the cuisine) will guarantee a much more even result than trying to toast in a dry pan. I also learnt that putting the work in at the start and freezing off the curry paste in zip-lock bags is a great way of ensuring curry-in-a-hurry midweek.
This recipe is perfect for the aforementioned “in a hurry” principal, because it incorporates seafood that cooks before you know it.

Serve with basmati rice, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, some red-tinged Keralan rosematta rice from Lee’s and while you’re there, pick up some locally-made roti bread, which, you simply MUST try toasting over an open flame for 30-odd seconds a side… you’ll never want to eat it any differently again!!

As an aside, Mischa’s new show, Kerala’s Ways is currently in production and sees him returning to his roots alongside his very cool mum – follow their progress on Insty – @keralasways.


Seafood Moilee (serves 8)

500g Rockling chopped into small pieces
500g Fresh mussels (de-beard)
500g Fresh prawns (de-shell leaving heads and tail on)

Sweet Spices
1.5 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
5 whole cardamom

Curry Paste
80g Ginger
50g Garlic
1 bunch coriander roots and stem
4 green chillies

1/3 Tumeric powder
1.5 mustard seeds
1/3 dstp Black pepper (grind in mortar and pestle)
Salt (to season)

Other Ingredients
150g Coconut Oil
400g Shallots chopped
5 stems curry leaves
400g Fresh ripe tomatoes chopped
800ml coconut milk (look for coconut milk that has only coconut and water in ingredients)


  1. Go through ingredients and prep all ingredients.
  2. In mortar and pestle smash up all curry paste ingredients when done add pinch salt and set aside
  3. Melt coconut oil in large pot on medium heat
  4. Add sweet spices and cook on low heat until aromatic and sweet
  5. Add mustard seeds and cook on medium heat until they pop (like popcorn)
  6. Add shallots, ½ dstp salt and curry leaves and cook on medium heat until shallots are sweet and translucent
  7. Add curry paste ingredients and cook until the bitterness has gone and they start to taste sweet approx. 3 minutes
  8. Add turmeric powder and cook for 1 minute
  9. Add fresh tomatoes and cook on medium heat until they start to break down 4-6 minutes
  10. Add coconut milk and bring to simmer for 2 minutes
  11. Add mussels and prawns cook for 2 minutes on low heat.
  12. Add fish and stir through. Turn off and place lid on. Sit for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Season w/black pepper and extra salt if needed.

Photo Credit: Bernard Winter.


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