I’ve deliberately avoiding giving this delicately spiced Coconut Fish 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 fish curry where you could taste the fish, so the sauce is deliberately mild and light. Here it’s made with Haddock (not smoked) and a generous helping of raw king prawns. The choice of fish is up to you, just make sure it’s something with a fairly robust texture that can be braised in the sauce without falling apart too much. Admittedly, the haddock doesn’t hold its structure perfectly but you still get plenty of meaty pieces in each mouthful.
I have made this in the past with Monkfish – 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 once bought it in bulk at our local Waitrose. Well, you can’t blame me when the closing time reductions took it from £30 per kg to £12. The freezer was well stocked for quite some time!
It works well in this recipe, but it’s not cheap and not easy to find, so any good white fish will be fine. Whichever route you choose the end result will be delicious. My only advice in cooking this is to reduce the sauce until it feels a bit too thick before adding the fish and prawns. They will add moisture and will end up overcooked if you try and reduce the sauce after they’re added.
To keep it nice and simple I serve this with steamed basmati rice and, if they’re in the house, a naan bread or two. Well, it’s nice to pretend you’re having a take-away now and then, isn’t it?
Coconut Fish Curry
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 120 g Shallot (1 large or 2 small) 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 Creamed Coconut from a block
- 200 ml Chicken or Fish Stock
- 300 g Robust Fish of your choice cut into 3cm chunks
- 150 g Raw King Prawns
- 1 handful Fresh Coriander Leaves roughly chopped
- 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 and reduce until thickened.
- Add in the fish and prawns, then loosely cover. Allow to cook for around 10 minutes until the fish has cooked through and is coated in a nice thick sauce.
- 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.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||31||g|
|of which Sugars||10||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|