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Fish curry in coconut milk

  • 15 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • 5-6
Fish curry in coconut milk

Our first night in Kerala was spent sitting under the stars at a beachside cafe, listening to the waves crashing against the short and enjoying freshly squeezed pineapple juice and fish curry.


  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds (about 1 tablespoon ground)
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, a good pinch ground
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • chilli powder to taste (½ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 green chillies, deseeded
  • 10 curry leaves, fresh or dried
  • ½ cup water or fish stock
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 750 grams firm fish fillets, such as lemon fish, chopped into large pieces


  1. In a dry frying pan toast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and black peppercorns for about 2-3 minutes over a low heat until fragrant. Grind the toasted seeds in a coffee grinder.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds. Cover and leave until all the mustard seeds have popped. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
  3. Add the ground spice powder, paprika, chilli powder, turmeric, salt, green chillies and curry leaves and stir well for about 30 seconds to toast the ground spices.
  4. Add the water or stock and simmer for 10 minutes until the onion is soft and the sauce fragrant and pungent.
  5. Add the coconut cream and fish pieces and leave to simmer gently in the sauce for about 10 minutes or until the fish is tender. Serve over plain, boiled rice.

Cooks Tips

- Curry leaves can be found both fresh and dried. They are small, shiny, pointed leaves that grow close together and impart an unmistakable flavour to a curry. Fresh leaves should be pan-fried with other spices in a little oil before cooking continues. Look for them at good sumpermarket vegetable departments or in specialty stores.

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