Pondicherry Bouillabaisse by Deepanker Khosla
Deepanker Khosla, or DK as he is known, is chef-owner of ground-breaking urban farm restaurant, Haoma, in Bangkok. Here, he shares one of his creative neo-Indian dishes, Pondicherry Bouillabaisse.
- 2 lobster tails, thawed if frozen
- 8 new potatoes
- 4 baby fennel heads, trimmed
- 8–12 razor clams
- 30g butter
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 large scallops, cleaned and roe removed
- 4 large raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined – keep the shells to use for garnishing
- 2 red mullet fillets, pin bones removed, each cut into 2 pieces and the skin lightly scored
- 2 sea bream or bass fillets, pin bones removed, each cut into 2 pieces and the skin lightly scored
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 30g butter
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- very finely chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
- baby samphire, cleaned, to garnish
For the coconut base
- 2 large tomatoes, a small ‘x’ cut in the stalk end of each
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 10 curry leaves
- 2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 green cardamom pods, bruised
- 2 cloves
- ½ star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 15g piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into julienne sticks
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 green chilli, slit
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel
- a generous pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons water for 30 mins
- 400ml shellfish stock
- 400ml coconut milk (here)
- 1 teaspoon tomato purée
Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to the boil and fill a large bowl with iced water.
Add the lobster tails to the boiling water and, when the water returns to the boil, blanch for 2 minutes. Use tongs to remove and transfer to the iced water to stop the cooking. When cool enough to handle, peel off the shells. Remove the black intestinal vein and cut each tail into 4 medallions.
Return the poaching water to the boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 12-15 minutes until they are tender. Use a scoop or large slotted spoon to remove from the water. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and set aside.
Meanwhile, return the water to the boil, add the baby fennel and blanch for 3 minutes, or until tender. Refresh in cold water to stop the cooking and set the colour, then set aside.
Bring a separate small pan of water to the boil. Add the tomatoes and blanch for 2 minutes, or until the skins begin to split. Drain them well and set aside until cool enough to handle or until the skins begin to split. Drain them well and set aside until cool enough to handle, then skin, halve, deseed and finely dice.
To make the coconut base, heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and sauté over a low heat without colouring. Add the curry leaves, whole spices, bay leaf and ginger, and continue sautéing until the seeds crackle. Add the onion and green chilli, and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent, but not coloured. Stir in the ground cumin and fennel and the saffron threads with the liquid, then add the potatoes and stir until they are coated. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and tomato purée, and stir together, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Set aside and keep hot until all the seafood is cooked.
Place the razor clams in a steamer and steam for 30 seconds-1 minute until the shells open.
Remove the meat from the shells, trim and set aside.
Just before you start cooking the seafood, melt the butter with the water in a separate saucepan, add the baby fennel and potatoes and serve.