Adam Liaw's red flathead curry

Adam Liaw
Red flathead curry.
Red flathead curry. Photo: William Meppem

Never feel that using packet curry pastes is "cheating". They're great products and you can and should always feel free to add your own enhancements to the balance of sweetness and savouriness – by, for example, adding additional herbs, lime leaves and lemongrass.


2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup red curry paste

5 makrut lime leaves (optional)

1 stalk lemongrass (optional)

1 cup button mushrooms, halved

1 small eggplant, halved and sliced

500g flathead fillets, cut into 5cm cubes

1 small bunch water spinach (kangkung), cut into 5cm lengths

5 spears baby corn, halved

1 large red chilli, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes

200ml coconut cream

salt and pepper, to season

approx. 1 tbsp palm sugar, to season

approx. 1 tbsp fish sauce, to season

1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves

½ cup picked coriander leaves

lime wedges, to serve


1. Heat a wok over medium heat and add the oil and curry paste. Fry the curry paste for about 3 minutes. Then add the lime leaves and lemongrass (if using) and about 1 litre of water. Simmer for about 5 minutes. 

2. Add the mushrooms and eggplant and simmer for a few more minutes, then add the fish, water spinach, baby corn, red chilli, cherry tomatoes and coconut cream (reserving about a tablespoon) and simmer again for about 5-6 minutes until the fish is cooked through. 

3. Adjust seasoning with as much of the fish sauce and palm sugar you need, stir through half the herbs, then transfer to a serving plate. Swirl the reserved coconut cream on top, scatter with the remaining herbs and serve with lime wedges.

Also try Adam Liaw's crepes with buttered bananas and condensed milk