Monkfish and Prawn Curry

I’ve deliberately avoiding giving this delicately spiced Monkfish and Prawn Curry a geographic moniker. It’s partly for the inevitable fear that I’ll cause offence – something many cooks do on a regular basis. Though it’s mostly because its inspiration has come from around the Bay of Bengal. Tying it to any single coastline would be unfair.

I think it’s fair to say that Southern India is a big influence with the coconut milk and lime. Though I wanted more lightness, so headed for Thailand and a generous hit of lemongrass. The use of a pre-made curry powder, instead of fresh chillies and separate spices, reflects my slightly lazy British tendencies.

Not that any shortcuts are evident in the end product. I wanted to make a Monkfish curry where you could taste the Monkfish, so the sauce is deliberately mild and light. It’s an ingredient that can be hard to come by in the UK. Even if you have a good local fishmonger I think seasonality must play a part in its availability. I bought plenty in bulk at our local Waitrose recently and popped it in the freezer. Closing time reductions took it from £30 per kg to £12, so I’ve have been mad not to!

The Monkfish and Prawns are both fairly robust textures so they can be braised in the sauce without falling apart. You’re guaranteed to get nice meaty chunks in everyone’s bowl with this recipe. Though both will add moisture to the sauce as they cook, so you may want it a little on the thick side before you add in the seafood.

Served here with simple steamed basmati and wild rice, and some naan bread also found in the freezer, this makes for a great take-away substitute.


Monkfish and Prawn Curry

With flavours inspired by both India and Thailand this colourful Monkfish and Prawn Curry tastes great and makes for a quick and easy mid-week meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Fish

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Shallots (approx 120g) peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
  • 5 cm Root Ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp Lemongrass Paste see note
  • 1 Lime juiced and zested
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • 100 g Coconut Cream
  • 100 ml Chicken or Fish Stock
  • 300 g Monkfish cut into 3cm chunks
  • 150 g Raw King Prawns
  • 1 handful Fresh Coriander Leaves roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or saute pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook for 5-10 minutes, until softened and starting to go translucent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the pan and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until fragrant, ensuring the garlic doesn't burn.
  • Sprinkle over the lime zest and curry powder, then stir to ensure everything is well coated, before pouring in the coconut cream and stock. Bring to a simmer then add in the monkfish and prawns.
  • Partially cover and allow to cook for around 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and the fish is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  • When the fish is cooked through remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice to taste. Served sprinkled with the coriander as a garnish.

Notes

Finding good quality fresh lemongrass in the UK can be a bit of a challenge. A lot of what's sold in supermarkets is quite small, dry and rather robust in texture. In many curry pastes this isn't an issue, as it will be chopped into very fine pieces, but here I wanted to avoid the risk of unpleasant chunks and used lemongrass paste.
You could use two whole lemongrass stalks if you'd rather - but instead of chopping them pop them in whole. Just stab each a few times with a sharp knife then bash the whole stalk with the back of the knife before adding them to the pan. This will let the flavour out but will ensure that the stalk can be recovered just before serving, ensuring no nasty surprises.

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