Curried Coconut-Seafood Soup (Seafood Rassa)


Hemant Oberoi uses seafood from India's West Coast for this bouillabaisse-like rassa. A cross between a soup and a curry, the rassa is spiked with coconut milk and laden with mussels and shrimp. Steamed basmati rice or warm naan—or both—are key for sopping up the rich, thick broth.

Curried Coconut-Seafood Soup
Photo: © Marcus Nilsson
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh curry leaves (see Note)

  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek

  • 1 1/2 cups fish stock or water

  • One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 tomato, finely chopped

  • Salt

  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded

  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Steamed basmati rice and warm naan, for serving


  1. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, jalapeño and ginger and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry leaves, Madras curry powder, turmeric and fenugreek and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the fish stock, coconut milk and tomato and season lightly with salt. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Add the mussels and shrimp and cook until the shrimp are opaque and the mussels have opened, about 3 minutes; discard any mussels that don't open. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice and serve with steamed rice and naan.

Make Ahead

The fish soup can be refrigerated overnight. Rewarm; add the cilantro and lemon juice before serving.


Fresh curry leaves, which resemble small bay leaves and have an aromatic flavor, are available from

Suggested Pairing

Zippy, lime-scented, dry Riesling is a good match for both the rich coconut milk and the exotic spices in this dish.

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