Zesty Fish Curry with Coconut Milk



In the past week or so, I might have finished a whole bottle of cough syrup, sipped several cups of ginger tea and gulped many more glasses of homemade herbal drinks. This dry cough sucks! First, it was the jet lag and then, this dry cough; it’s been a while since I had a sound nap. The sore throat has changed my voice. Most importantly, I can hardly talk and that’s not an easy task for me.


In between all this, Arvind is showing some fake joy towards it. He seems to be enjoying the noiselessness in the house and that, according to him, is a rare situation. Wait till I get healthier, I will tell him tall tales all-day long (wink wink)! Well, truth being told, he pampers me a lot and takes extremely good care. If only he could prepare my mom’s fish curry. Now, that’s an interesting thought to discuss with him. I am not asking for too much, am I?


Ok, now let’s talk food!



Mom’s spicy fish curry is something that I can’t even think of trying out here. It’s mainly because I won’t find those kinds of lake water fishes here. And no matter how much I try the recipe with salmon or tilapia or whatever kind of fish is available; the taste doesn’t even come close. Instead of spoiling the taste I remember, I guess it’s best to wait and relish it when I get back home. And I think its things like these that make our trip to home even more enjoyable. At times, it’s acceptable to miss a few things from back home. It gives us a way to treasure those moments later.



This fish curry was a result of extreme need to lift up my taste buds with something spicy and tangy. My palate has gone for a toss and it genuinely needed something robust and zesty enough to boost it up! Red chili with dry roasted whole spice did the magic.



I normally make a similar kind of dish with Thai red chili paste and coconut milk and serve it as a soup. Since there was no lemon grass at home, I improvised a little and made a chili garlic spice paste and drizzled lemon juice for the smack.

The dry red chili doesn’t add a lot of heat; it however makes the broth look rich with its color. This recipe wouldn’t give you spice thrill at the first mouthful but as you keep enjoying the gravy, it will give an after taste which is just enough warmth and zing but not burning hot!


Zesty Fish Curry with Coconut Milk

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: Good for 4 people as main course

Zesty Fish Curry with Coconut Milk


    for the chili paste
  • 7 to 8 dry red chilies
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • rest of the ingredients
  • 2 fillets of cod, cut in bite size cubes
  • 1-1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • oil
  • salt


  • In a small saucepan, pour 1/4 cup water, red chilies and bring it to a boil. Switch off the heat, cover it and let it steep for about 5 minutes.
  • Dry roast the coriander, cumin powder and grind it to a fine powder.
  • In a food processor or mixer, grind the red chilies along with the water and garlic.
  • Add the freshly ground spice powder to it and give one more blend. Then, add lemon juice and keep it aside.
  • In a pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and pan fry the cod fillet for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side and keep it aside.
  • In a wok or a deep pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and sauté sliced onion until it’s translucent. Add some salt and the spice paste to the wok. Continue cooking in low heat, occasionally stirring in between, until the spices are cooked through and oil starts to release. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, about 1/2 cup water and give it a stir.
  • Add cayenne powder and half of lemon juice. Add salt and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
  • Drop the pan-fried fish cubes and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Taste for salt and add any if required. Switch off the heat once done.
  • While serving, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro on top and drizzle more lemon juice, if you want.


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Mallika says:

Beautiful Kankana. Take care of ur health and bounce back to life soon. Do hope that fish curry was a respite from ur poor palate!

Deepa says:

Am sure in real He is not liking the silence …You are right some particular fishes brings out the best taste. Beautiful pics..specially the rice grains

Priyanka says:

Wow sis the looks beautiful and yummy.
Beautiful pics as always :)

I love curry, this looks so flavorful and comforting!

mmmm….i love fish curry with coconut milk in it….!!!

Hope your cough is better now….and you are telling tall tales to Arvind!!!! 😉

Rosa says:

A beauiful cury! It must taste heavenly. Amazing clicks, as always.



You need to rest babe…
I know this weather n crazy cough can be so frustrating…
But this curry can do wonders right :-)
Take care gorgeous!! Talk to u soon.

Spandana says:

Gorgeous looking curry. Lovely flavors. Take care of your health.

The fish curry really looks yummy, hmm…
I hope that you recover from the cough soon! hugs

Nikki says:

I’m a new subscriber and I loved your persimmon post! This one is great too! Keep up the great work and get better!

Wizzy says:

I understand exactly what you mean about the fish. I can’t begin to describe how bland and tasteless I find tilapia to be. This curry is making me so hungry right now.

Soma says:

It looks delicious…can’t wait to make it. I had the same cold a month ago and it took me a month and a half to get rid of that nasty dry cough. I didn’t sleep well for a month. I can totally understand the situation. On top of that I was all alone becasue my hubby was in india…what a coincidence. beautiful pictures.

I so miss river fishes here.The curries with tilapia or salmon are a sob story for me as well & its been ages since I made them. I really like the balance of flavors here in your recipe with spices & coconut milk.Looks sooo yummy!
I hope you feel better soon, I m having my dry cough bouts too for weeks now..its difficult! take care.

Funwidfud says:

Fish curry with coconut milk is definitely a delicious preparation and Moms recipe is always the best…I remember our last visit to India…Had told mom about the foods I want to eat on that visit 3 months earlier so that she could be ready with a set of pickles which was on my list..:)
Hope you are fine now and your cold has left you with double the energy for tall tales..;)

Hope you feel better soon. That’s one good looking fish curry!

Samantha says:

Jenn’s community sure has brought me to some amazing blogs. Loving your photos and this fish curry sounds (and looks) amazing! I hope you are feeling better soon!

audrey says:

Hi! This looks so delicious! Do you think tilapia would be an ok substitute for the cod? Thank you!!!

Kankana says:

Sure Tilapia would work great too! Thanks for dropping by Audrey :)

Joyti says:

Such gorgeous pics!
I hope the curry is making you feel better. I had one of those dry coughs one year – it was awful. My mom’s remedy is hot honey with black pepper. It helps soothe your throat at least.

Courtney says:

I found your site from the new food photography google plus group. So glad I dropped by. This is a lovely, happy space you’ve created and your photos are gorgeous. Looking forward to seeing more!

Gorgeous looking curry..loved the clicks Kankana…hope you are feeling better!

Love the color you achieved in this fish curry dish. A jar of that pepper paste is always good to have. Again, am so partial to Southern Indian dishes as usual! :)

I love a fish curry! This looks just spectacular – nice and spicy. I’m loving your blog – wonderful vibrance and style.

I love fish and curry together! It is a wonderful combination and i love that you paired it in a soup with coconut milk! DELICIOUS

Hungry for more says:

Looks Wonderful! What kind of rice did you picture with the dish?

Nami | JOC says:

Fish curry, and especially in coconut milk! My friend makes a killer fish curry. I don’t remember now that if it was in coconut curry, but that was so good. I can make a milder version for my family with your recipe (my husband would prefer your spicy version!). :) Gorgeous photos, Kankana~~~!

Poornima says:

Fabulous curry Kankana, love the rich spicy color.

Kiran says:

I need this curry in my life!

Oh Kankana that looks amazing!!!! What a mouthwatering curry…yummy!!!

Vijitha says:

Looks super zesty for sure!

That is some curry! I’m going to make that spice paste and just add spoonfuls to everything I cook :) Hope you feel better soon, Kankana!

Jacqueline says:

I would say that perfect fish curry is just the remedy to pick you up. Bold flavours – just up my street. Hope you are feeling better Kankana.

Aunt Clara says:

We have a tradicional recipe that is, in concept, similar to this one. Of course the only way to make it better is to make it spicy.

Have I told you I love coconut and spicy food?

I have all the ingredients at hand, so I will try it this week and report back to you.

Willow says:

This soup looks gorgeous! I love curries like this, and the bright red color really is eye-catching. I have a question regarding the recipe, though. Did you use full-fat coconut milk (from a can) or coconut milk from a carton/jug? At first I thought canned, but I ask because it’s hard for me to imagine the soup turning out so bright and colorful (as opposed to milky looking). Thanks in advance!