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A Thirst for Curry

Nestled in the Melbourne Building right in the heart of Canberra is Thirst Thai Restaurant and Wine Bar. With an intimate knowledge of Thai flavours, the team at Thirst have created a menu that combines these flavours with modern Australian techniques and local ingredients. They enjoyed the June market so much that Justin & Jeff will be back in September (10th & 11th, 10am-4pm at EPIC), bringing their “modern food from the streets of Thailand,” with a range that includes complex curry pastes and sauces, along with the Handmade team’s favourite salted caramels! They nearly sold out of pastes in June, so make sure you get in early!

In the meantime, they are sharing their beautiful recipe for baked fish in Thai curry coconut crust.

thai fish photo


2 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 tbsp Thirst red curry paste – the more paste, the spicier the dish
30g palm sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp chilli jam (available at any good Asian grocery)
3/4 cup coconut cream, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup crushed, roasted peanuts (optional)
4 banana leaf – 30cm x 30cm, or enough to cover the fish (available at any good Asian grocery)
4 180-200g white fish fillets – such as blue eye cod, ling, trevally
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges
toothpicks or wooden skewers


  1. In a medium pan, heat the vegetable oil, add the curry paste and palm sugar and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the coconut, jam, coconut cream and peanuts, if using. Stir until simmering – let simmer for 2 minutes then take off the heat.
  3. Turn the oven to 180C.
  4. Place the banana leaf glossy side down on a metal oven tray. Place the fish, skin down if it has skin, on the banana leaf. Spoon the curry coconut paste evenly over the top of the fish. Wrap the banana leaf around the fish, using toothpicks or skewers to secure it in place. Cook the fish for 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish fillets.
  5. Unwrap the banana leaf, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of extra coconut cream over the cooked fish, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with wedges of lime.

Thanks to the team from Thirst for the recipe – and make sure you have enough red curry paste in September, because we think it might be popular!


Caroline Leevers is responsible for the Handmade brand, including the website, Handmade Style, the newsletter and the online magazine. When she's not hanging out with the lovely Handmade team, she runs Callie & Co Design, a Canberra graphic design studio that crafts brands for small businesses. Her favourite things about Canberra are the seasons (especially Autumn), the big sky, the coffee and the great events.


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