Snapper with coconut, ginger and coriander


When Ewen and Elissa Macpherson of Symphony Hill wines asked me to create a recipe to go with their Moscato Giallo I was both flattered and excited. They are a couple who have lived out their passions and dreams, and make spectacular, award winning wines with great style and panache. Matching a wine to a dish is a real art, and this variety is both unusual and unfamiliar. I wanted to design a dish that would bring out its highly aromatic tones and not overwhelm its complexity. Moscato is often associated with sweet or dessert wines, but this amazing wine challenges stereotypical pairings. It is quite special with this dish of snapper, with coconut, ginger and coriander. I’d love to hear what you think of it, especially if you pair it with the Moscato Giallo.


Serves 4

4 skinless snapper fillets, about 180g each
1 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves with the tender stems attached
¼ cup alfalfa sprouts
2 tablespoons shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1 small dried red chilli, finely diced

Coconut Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small peeled brown onion
2 fresh garlic cloves
1cm piece peeled fresh turmeric
1cm piece peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, with seeds and core removed, very finely diced
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
3 teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon garam masala

First make the sauce. Heat vegetable oil on a low temperature in a medium sized heavy-based saucepan. In a small food processor combine the onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger and salt and process until finely minced. Add this mixture to the pot and cook slowly on a low heat until caramelised (this can take up to 30 minutes – don’t rush it, or the sauce will taste burned and bitter). Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the pot and then return 2 heaped tablespoons into the pot, setting aside the remainder. Add coconut cream, sugar, fish sauce, and garam masala. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook the fish. 

Season the fish on both sides with sea salt. Combine the fennel seeds and flour and lightly coat the fish pieces with the flour mixture, dusting off any excess. Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook the fish on one side for 6–8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Turn and cook on other side 30 seconds. Divide the sauce between four bowls, place a piece of fish gently on top of the sauce, and top firstly with a little of the remaining tomato mixture, and the fresh coriander, sprouts, toasted coconut and dried chilli.