I wanted to accomplish two objectives in this dish. First, meld Caribbean influences with coastal Maharashtrian flavours, and second, infuse it with my favourite sweet-sour profile. To evoke the Caribbean, I used pineapple and coconut, which are typical to the West Indies, and to conjure Maharashtra, I used sukhat and jaggery. Together with the snapper, bok choy and myriad other elements, these ingredients made the dish pop in the mouth.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



For Snapper Fillet

  • 4 red snapper fillets (around 120-130 gm each, with the skin on)
  • 30 large clams
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 20 gm butter
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 20 ml lemon/lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

For Coconut Broth

  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 20 ml vegetable stock
  • 20 gm jaggery
  • 10 gm fresh turmeric root, grated
  • 10 gm coriander stem
  • 5 gm ginger, grated
  • 2 Thai red chillis, slit in half

For Finishing Coconut Broth

  • 50 gm butter, cold and cubed small
  • 10 gm chives, chopped
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

For Braised Bok Choy

  • 12 baby bok choys, cored
  • 5 gm garlic, chopped
  • 40 ml dry white wine
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For Pineapple Turmeric Salsa*

  • 50 gm pineapple, charred and diced
  • 20 gm pickled turmeric root, diced
  • 5 gm coriander, chopped
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Garnish

  • 20 gm coconut shavings, roasted
  • 20 gm coriander cress or fresh coriander, chopped
  • 15 gm sukhat or air-dried krill/baby shrimp, deep fried

* Note: The turmeric root needs to pickle for a minimum of four to five days before you can use it. The longer the better – it will keep in the refrigerator for many months and gets better with age. If you want to save time, you can also omit it from the recipe.


For Coconut Broth

  1. Cook all the coconut broth ingredients in a saucepan on low flame till the liquid is reduced by half and the broth is nicely flavoured. 
  2. While the broth is reducing, wash and scrub the outside of the closed clams with a coarse sponge or brush to remove dirt. Once done, hold them in ice cold water or refrigerate. 
  3. Strain the broth when ready and set aside till service. 
  4. When ready to serve, heat the broth in a fresh saucepan on low heat to almost boiling, making sure the coconut milk does not split. 
  5. Toss in the clams, cover with a lid, and once the clams open up, take the pan off the flame. 
  6. Monté with butter, lemon juice and chopped chives.

For Braised Bok Choy

  1. Sauté the garlic and cleaned bok choy in a frying pan on medium heat till the garlic turns golden brown and the bok choy is partially cooked. 
  2. Deglaze the pan with white wine, lower the flame and place back the cover to let the bok choy cook in the steam. Don’t let the bok choy discolour. 
  3. Remove the pan from the flame, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For Pickled Turmeric

  1. Wash and scrub the outside of the turmeric roots with a coarse sponge or brush to remove any dirt. Pat dry with a paper towel and put them in a sterilised glass jar.
  2. Separately, add all the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  3. Pour this hot pickling liquid over the turmeric roots and seal the jar.

For Pineapple Salsa

  1. Take the cleaned fresh pineapple and sauté it in a frying pan on high heat till it chars and caramelises. Let it cool and then dice it.
  2. In a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the salsa, mix well and set aside.

For Snapper

  1. Lightly score the skin of the snapper fillets, making sure not to cut too deeply into the flesh. 
  2. Pat dry the fillets with a paper towel and rub a little salt, pepper and lemon juice on the flesh side. Keep the skin side dry. 
  3. Heat some oil in a nonstick frying pan and sauté the fillets, skin side down, on low heat. When the edges of the flesh above the skin start turning white, the fish is almost cooked. 
  4. Toss in the butter and a sprig of thyme, and with a tablespoon, keep basting the top, flesh side of the fish. The skin should become crisp. 
  5.  Remove from the heat, flip the fillet in the pan, and hold while you start plating.

To Serve

  1. Divide the coconut broth with clams among four deep serving plates and place three warm bok choy heads in the centre of each of them. 
  2. Place a snapper fillet, skin side up, on the bok choy bed and spoon some of the pineapple salsa and fried sukhat on top. 
  3. Garnish with crispy browned coconut shavings and coriander cress. 
Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar, the chef-founder of Qualia in Mumbai, was Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for June. He started his culinary journey 35 years ago in the US, returning to India in 1989. Since then, he has been busy changing the way we eat. Known for setting industry trends with his creative, ingredient-driven cuisine, and warm attentive hospitality, Rahul’s award-winning restaurants secured his position as one of India’s first successful, chef-restaurateurs. In his career, he has won many accolades – he was featured in Asiaweek’s Survey of “Kitchen Gods” in 2001 and was 28 on San Pellegrino’s List of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013. More recently, he won Chef of The Year at the Times Food Awards 2016, Mumbai. He has been guest chef in several kitchens around the world, authored numerous articles, and frequently consults to the food and hospitality industry.

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