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A divine seafood platter recipe which takes inspiration from Thailand. Featuring lobster, squid and mussels, the Rick Stein dish is both fragrant and creamy.


There was a bit of a toss-up whether I was going to put this recipe in this chapter or the one on soups and stews in my book. But because it is particularly hot and deliciously full of Thai spices and coconut milk, I decided it belonged here. It is an expensive dish to make but well worth it as it has so much of interest in it: pieces of lobster, crab, prawns, a delicious sauce, and accompaniments of deep-fried garlic, shallots and nuts, chilli-Jlavoured vinegar and fresh basil.

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1 cooked lobster, weighing about 450g (1lb)
1 cooked crab, weighing about 750g (1½lb)
225g / 8oz prepared squid
1 red mullet, weighing about 350g (12oz), filleted
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 quantity of Red Curry Paste (see ingredients and method below)
1.2 l / 2 pints chicken stock
100g / 4oz creamed coconut
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
2 limes
3 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves (optional)
12 large, raw, unshelled prawns
24 large mussels, cleaned
1 small bunch of fresh basil, finely shredded
4 red birdseye chillies, thinly sliced
85ml / 3 fl oz rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
300ml / 10 fl oz sunflower oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
50g / 2oz cashew nuts, split in half
For the red curry paste:
5 large red finger chillies, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped fresh galangal or root ginger
1 tbsp lemongrass
3 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp roughly chopped shallots
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp blachan (optional)
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Essential kit

You will need a food processor to make the red curry paste.

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First, make the red curry paste. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. If necessary, add a little water to help it purée more easily. Set aside.

Pull the claws off the lobster, break them into 3 and lightly crack the shells with a rolling pin. Detach the head and legs from the tail section and discard (or save for shellfish stock). Cut the tail into 3 sections through the shell. Detach the legs and claws from the crab, break them into 3 and lightly crack the shells. Remove the body from the back shell. Scoop the brown meat out of the back shell and set aside, discarding the shell. Remove the dead man’s fingers from the body and then cut the body section into quarters. Slice the squid across into rings and each red mullet fillet into 3 pieces.

For the garnishes, mix the chillies with the vinegar in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallots, garlic and cashew nuts and fry for about 3 minutes, until crisp and golden. Lift out with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and then spoon into another small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the red curry paste and fry for 2 minutes, until the paste starts to separate from the oil. Add the stock creamed coconut and fish sauce and heat gently until the coconut dissolves.

Meanwhile, pare 2 strips of zest from I lime and cut them across into very fine shreds. Squeeze out the juice from both limes. Add the zest and juice to the pan with the dried kaffir lime leaves, if using, and simmer everything together for 2 minutes.

Add the lobster and crab pieces to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the prawns and simmer for I minute. Add the squid and red mullet and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and simmer for 2 minutes until they have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

Stir in the basil and the fresh kaffir lime leaves, if using, then transfer everything to a large shallow serving platter and serve with the little bowls of prepared garnishes and Thai jasmine rice.

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