Christine Manfield, David Thompson, Madhur Jaffrey, Peter Kuruvita, Adam Liaw and Charmaine Solomon all know a thing or two about curries. Our stellar line-up of experts share their favourite recipes, from a traditional Southern Thai coconut curry of mashed prawns to a modern take on Bengal fish curry.
Rachel Bartholomeusz

24 May 2013 - 1:34 PM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2021 - 5:07 PM

Christine Manfield
Hailed as Sydney’s spice queen, Christine Manfield is one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, her renowned signature style being a love of strong flavours from cuisines around the globe. The established writer and keen traveller has recently closed the doors on her two-hatted Sydney restaurant Universal. Following four former restaurants, including Sydney’s legendary Paramount and London’s acclaimed East @ West, Christine has called Universal her last, with plans to concentrate on other ventures such as her culinary tours. Her long-held love affair with India is no secret. She has been visiting the country for the past two decades, leading gastronomic tours and eating her way around its many regions. Christine’s sixth cookbook, Tasting India, was published in 2011, and celebrates the recipes and stories she has learned along the way.

Andhra curry leaf chicken


David Thompson
Australian chef, restaurateur and food writer David Thompson is a widely respected world authority on Thai food and culture. After making a name for himself with Sydney restaurants Darley Street Thai and Sailor’s Thai in the 1990s, David took his passion for authentic Thai cuisine to London and opened Nahm – the first Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. He has since opened another branch in his hometown of Bangkok, which is currently ranked number 50 on S. Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. David has also brought Thai food into the kitchens of countless home cooks around the world with his well-researched books Thai Food and Thai Street Food, celebrated for their adherence to authentic ingredients and cooking methods.

Southern thai coconut curry of mashed prawns (aaeng gati gung)


Peter Kuruvita
When it comes to his love for all things Sri Lankan, this renowned chef, restaurateur and television personality wears his heart on his sleeve. Born to a Sri Lankan father and Austrian mother, Peter spent his childhood in his father’s ancestral home in the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Peter’s family migrated to Australia in 1974, and he entered the kitchen a few years later, going on to work in a number of renowned restaurants around the world. It was at Sydney fine-diner Flying Fish, however, that his heritage became apparent in his food, with seafood curries and contemporary-style condiments featuring on the menu. Peter’s cookbook, Serendip: My Sri Lankan Kitchen and SBS television series My Sri Lanka have since brought Sri Lankan cuisine into the limelight, and made him a household name. 

Beetroot curry


Charmaine Solomon
‘Changing the world… one curry at a time’ is Charmaine’s mantra – and there is no denying her influence on the way we eat. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Charmaine worked as a journalist before moving to Australia with her husband and young family in 1959. Unable to even boil rice at this point, she threw herself into cooking. After gaining the attention of Woman’s Day food editor Margaret Fulton in a bake-off, Charmaine was offered a job in the magazine’s food department, which eventually led to an offer to write her own cookbook. She now has over 30 to her name, including her 1975 classic, The Complete Asian Cookbook, which revolutionised home cooking, introducing new flavours and authentic recipes from Asia.

Beef rendang (rendang daging)


Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey is a woman who wears many hats – cook, television personality, best-selling author and award-winning actress being just a few of them. Born in Delhi, she studied in London before moving to New York, and is upheld as an authority on Indian cuisines in the Western world. Madhur published An Invitation to Indian Cookery in 1973 and her BBC TV series, Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery, made her a household name in the UK. She now has more than 15 cookbooks to her name and her most recent, Curry Nation, ties in to her television show of the same name, which explores Britain’s love of Indian food, sharing 100 favourite curry recipes from all over the UK.

Seared fish with bengal dopiyaza sauce


Adam Liaw
Little did he know, but Adam Liaw’s decision to audition for MasterChef Australia in 2010 would lead to a whole new career in food. The Tokyo-based media lawyer went on to win the series, impressing judges and viewers with his home-style Asian cooking, and has since added published author and TV personality to his achievements. Born in Malaysia, Adam moved to Australia at a young age, and has lived and worked around the world, including a sevenyear stint in Tokyo, Japan. His passion for Asian cooking extends well beyond the Malaysian dishes of his childhood, as demonstrated in his 2011 cookbook, Two Asian Kitchens.

Fish head curry (gulai kepala ikan)


Photography Katie Kaars (Charmaine Solomon), Alan Benson (Peter Kuruvita) & Lisa Levart (Madhur Jaffrey)

For more of this article, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here