Special equipment: a mortar and pestle
For the marinade: Place the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, salt and chile flakes in a mortar and pound to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil. Add the eel and stir to combine. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
For the sauce: Remove the eel from the marinade. Heat a frying pan until hot and add the olive oil. Fry the eel, skin-side down, 2 minutes, then flip and fry 1 minute more. Remove the eel from the pan and set aside.
Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar and saffron to the pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the eel back to the pan and simmer for 1 minute more.
Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the spring onions and pink peppercorns.
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