Indian in 7 fish curry with coconut and curry leaves

This light South Indian curry is almost a stew, but unlike many southern dishes that are fiery hot, it’s quite mild. I love it best with plain boiled rice and a dash of lemon juice squeezed on top. I use full-fat canned coconut milk as the reduced-fat one does not give this curry the creaminess it needs.

fish curry with coconut
Gareth Morgans


2 onions, finely chopped
2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped (seeds and all)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tomatoes, finely chopped (seeds and all)
4 firm skinless fish fillets, such as salmon, halibut or cod loin
400ml can coconut milk
10 fresh or 15 dried curry leaves, chopped or crumbled


2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (see below, or good quality variety from a jar)

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Stir in the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes over a high heat until they start to brown. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until soft.

2. Add the ginger-garlic paste and chillies then cook for 30 seconds until the raw garlic smell disappears. Add the turmeric and cook for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until they soften and can be easily mashed with the back of a spoon.

3. Move the mixture to the sides of the pan and place the fish fillets in the centre of the pan, adding a few extra drops of sunflower oil if the pan is too dry. Fry on both sides for 2-3 minutes until well sealed and half cooked.

4. Pour in the coconut milk, add the curry leaves and season with salt. Cook over a low heat, covered, for about 8 minutes or until the fish is tender. Serve hot with plain boiled rice. 

Combine 1 part peeled and chopped fresh ginger (scrape the thin skin off with a teaspoon) and 2 parts (by volume) peeled and chopped garlic. If making a small amount, you can grate both or crush them using a mortar and pestle. For larger amounts, blitz the peeled and chopped ginger and garlic in a blender, along with a little cold water to turn the blades and make a smooth paste. You can store the paste in the fridge. Put it into a clean jam jar and cover the surface with oil (any cooking oil); it will keep for up to 3 weeks (top up the oil as necessary).

indian in 7 recipes

Indian in 7: Delicious Indian Recipes in 7 Ingredients or Fewer by Monisha Bharadwaj is published by Kyle Books, price £17.99. To order a copy for £14.40 with free p&p until 3 November visit, or call 01603 648155.