Nakai Curry

Nakai is a type of bivalve mulluscs found in Fiji, usually in the river.   

They have a chewier texture than mussels or pipis.  Sometimes you can find frozen nakai, imported from Fiji and sold at Indian grocers.  You can however, use mussels, pipis, cockles, periwinkles and other similar mulluscs if you can’t readily buy nakai.  You will get great results, just remember that your cooking time may not be as long as for nakai.  The recipe below is for ready prepped nakai, cleaned and all sand removed.


Nakai Curry

4.31 from 63 votes


  • 2 kg nakai
  • 2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp

    black mustard seeds

  • 3-4 cardamon pods
  • 4-5

    arlic cloves, minced

  • 3 chillies minced ( to taste)
  • 1/2

    brown onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tbs masala
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 1 sprig curry leaves - plucked
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • wedge of lemon or lime


  • In a pressure cooker add the nakai, baking powder and 2 cups of water and cook for 3-4 whistles.  (this will help to soften the nakai).  When the pressure has released, drain the nakai, reserving the liquid. 
  • Heat oil in a wide pan.   When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, black mustard seedsand green cardamom pods.  Fry unti fragrant.
  • Add the sliced onions and fry until the onions brown on the edges. Add garlic, chilli and curry leaves and fry for a further 30 - 45 secs. 
  • Add the masala, turmeric and 1 tablespoon of water.  Saute, stirring often until the oil separates.
  • Add the drained nakai, salt to taste and cook stir well.  Add ¼ cup of the reserved, drained liquid. 
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 10 mins, adding more reserved liquid if necessary. 
  • Remove lid and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the oil separated from the nakai. 
  • Garnish with coriander and a wedge of lime or lemon.
  • Serve with roti or rice and dahl.


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