Cornwall LivingIssue #121

Seafood laksa

In the first of a series of gastronomic insights, we welcome Cornwall Living’s foodie Guest Editor and Cornish culinary star, Jude Kereama.

With the intention of remaining for just two years before returning to his home in New Zealand, Jude Kereama quickly found his feet here in the UK. Eventually, after a time spent opening restaurants for a group in London, he moved to Cornwall with his wife Jane, where they established Kota, the first of two restaurants in Porthleven. The second, Kota Kai, came a few years later. Commanding an enviable position on Porthleven’s harbour head, Kai complements the fine-dining experience of Kota with a family friendly atmosphere. Its eclectic menu fuses the vibrant, playful flavours of south-east Asia with Cornwall’s abundance of home-grown meat, seafood and produce. 

 “It is like God’s own larder,” says Jude, “from the number-one butchers in the UK and the freshest seafood and fish, to the top vegetables and herb farms and other artisan producers.” This respect for Cornwall’s natural pantry has been fundamental to Jude’s success. In fact, Kota is one of only a handful of restaurants in Cornwall to have been awarded three AA Rosettes, but it’s not all about the food: “It has been lovely to introduce our resident artist, Maxine Greer, and to have our own range of pottery made by The Toll House Pottery Ceramics. It makes the whole experience more immersive,” explains Jude, “celebrating Cornwall not just for its food, but its creative identity, too.”

Cornwall has to be one of the UK’s premier foodie destinations and Porthleven is at the forefront. But it isn’t only Jude’s presence here that has cemented his association with Cornish cuisine; he has also appeared no fewer than four times on the BBC’s Great British Menu. “I was always a huge fan of GBM. When I was asked to compete, it gave me a sense of belonging as one of the best restaurants in the south west of England. There is a mountain of pressure for you to get things right as the whole country tunes in to watch. But it is a double-edged sword. It can be great for you if you do well, but equally as bad if you make mistakes. Luckily for me I have done okay.”

As an example of what has put Jude’s restaurants on the UK’s culinary map, he shares with us one of his favourite, signature recipes: Seafood Laksa…



For the Laksa Paste:

12 Kashmiri dried red chillies

50 gms dried shrimps

100 gms chopped ginger

6 garlic cloves

20 gms red turmeric root

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
roast and ground

1 teaspoon cumin seeds roasted
and ground

50 gms shrimp paste

12 cashew nuts

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

3 sticks lemongrass bruised
and chopped

6 kaffir lime leaves

12 Vietnamese mint leaves

3 tablespoons coriander root


Soak red chillies and dried shrimps in hot water until soft.

Blend all ingredients into a smooth paste.

Leave to the side until needed.

For the Stock:

Prawn shells

1.5 litres fish stock

2 tablespoons dashi powder

I tin coconut milk


Roast prawn shells and then add to the pot with all the other ingredients and cook for at least 45 minutes to extract the flavour of the prawns.

For the Laksa Sauce:

Fish sauce

Palm sugar

Salt and white pepper

Vegetable oil


Fry off the laksa paste in the oil in a pot until all the rawness is cooked out for approximately 30 mins and add the strained stock. Simmer and then season with the fish sauce, palm sugar, salt, pepper. 

Any leftover paste can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.

For the Garnish:

12 fish balls

10 deep fried tofu

1 hake fillet cut into small fillets

32 mussels

12 king prawns

4 scallops

Lime cut into quarters

1/2 cup picked mint leaves

1/2 cup picked Vietnamese leaves

1/4 cup picked coriander leaves

4 x 7 minute 20-second boiled eggs and peeled

2 cups bean sprouts

1/2 bunch sliced spring onions

Crispy shallots (shop bought from
Chinese grocery)

150 gms egg noodle cooked

150 gms rice noodle cooked

I baby bok choi split in quarters and steamed


Add a mix of cooked noodles to your bowls.  Poach the mussels in the laksa sauce.  Fry and roast hake fillet, deep fry king prawns, pan fry scallops.

Ladle mussels and laksa stock over the noodles.  Place all seafood, tofu and fish balls on top.  Garnish with bok choy, bean sprouts, egg, herbs, crispy shallots, and lime.