By Chef-owner Huy Chi Le
2 dozen freshly cleaned mussels
12 shelled & deveined large prawns
1 cup calamari rings
½ lb medium scallops
2 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage
½ cup fried minced shallots
4 sprigs Asian basil (for garnish)
4 lime wedges (optional)
4 cups fish broth (chicken broth can be substituted)
2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons finely shredded kaffir lime leaves
½ tablespoon shrimp paste
2 tablespoons garlic chili paste (more or less to taste)
½ tablespoon curry powder (or paste)
5 tablespoons undiluted Vietnamese fish sauce
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
Bring the broth, coconut milk, shrimp paste, chili paste, fish sauce, tomato paste and sugar to a boil; reduce heat; add the curry powder and lime leaves; simmer at medium heat for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Add the mussels and let simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the rest of the seafood and simmer at low heat for 2 minutes (don’t overcook or else the seafood will get tough and rubbery).
Divide the shredded cabbage in 4 fairly large bowls. Divide the seafood in the four bowls and pour the broth on top. Garnish with a sprig of basil and sprinkle fried shallots on top. Garnish with lime wedges.
Address: 430 Lafayette St., nr. Astor Place