O Tama Carey's pipis with bay leaves and gentle curry sauce

"This is a delicately spiced curry dish with lots of green flavours - bay leaves, green chilli - and a light curry powder," says Carey. "The base has speck in it, which gives a lovely smoky note, as well as adding richness. This dish uses some of my favourite flavours from both Italy and Sri Lanka."

You'll need

1 kg pipis, soaked in cold water for 2 hours to purge them of sand 100 ml dry white wine 3 fresh bay leaves 80 gm speck, cut into 5mm dice 4 anchovy fillets 2 tbsp olive oil 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh curry leaves 3 golden shallots, thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 long green chillies, thinly sliced 200 ml coconut milk 200 ml chicken stock Lime cheeks, to serve   Spice mix 1 tbsp coriander seeds 2 tsp fennel seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp nigella seeds 1 tsp white peppercorns 1 tsp ground turmeric


  • 01
  • For spice mix, finely grind whole spices and 1 tsp sea salt flakes with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, then stir in turmeric (see note).
  • 02
  • Heat a wide saucepan over high heat until hot, then tip in pipis, add wine and bay leaves and cover with a lid. Give the pan a jiggle now and then until pipis start to open (2-3 minutes). Remove lid and, working swiftly, remove pipis to a bowl as they open. Once they’re all rescued, along with the bay leaves, discard liquid, wipe out saucepan and return to heat. Add speck, anchovies and oil, and stir until anchovies dissolve (3-4 minutes). Add curry leaves, shallot, garlic and chilli, and fry until curry leaves start to crisp (3-4 minutes). Add spice mix and cook, stirring occasionally, until spices start to stick to the pan (2-3 minutes), then return pipis and give them a good stir. Add coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil, then remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve with lime cheeks.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Additional Notes

Substitute the spice mix with an unroasted Sri Lankan curry powder, available from Sri Lankan grocers and Herbie’s Spices (herbies.com.au). You’ll need 2 tbsp.

Drink Suggestion

Golden bottle-aged riesling.

Featured in

Apr 2017

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