Fish Curry

by Oct 30, 2019

Curry is not difficult to make, but I do recommend using the best coconut milk (Chaokoh), fish sauce (Red Boat), and fresh fish. Once you have those basics, a wide variety of veggies will be delicious. When I snapped this photo in late summer, I had used cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and a few little turnips and thai basil from our CSA box. This time of year, I’ll use parsnips, carrots, maybe potatoes and be happy our grocery store ships in herbs from elsewhere.

I like to buy my fish from people who are knowledgeable about what’s most sustainable. If you’re curious, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program keeps their recommendations up-to-date online.

Fish Curry

Servings 4 people


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 1 or 2 red or green chiles, sliced crosswise into "coins" serrano or bird's eye (or use 2 tsp. jarred chile paste)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, unpeeled, sliced into "coins"
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and mashed with ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (or chopped large tomatoes or canned, drained—San Marzano, Di Napoli or Mutti)
  • 1 red bell pepper, core and seeds removed, julienned
  • 4 small turnips, peeled and quartered (or use potato, parsnip, or carrot)
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk Chaokoh brand
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce Red Boat
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 lb somewhat thick, skinless, white fish fillets cod, bass or halibut, sustainably sourced
  • leaves from a few sprigs of thai basil (or regular basil or cilantro)
  • for serving: ½ fresh lime, additional fresh thai basil (or regular basil or cilantro)


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil (or other cooking oil) in large skillet (that has a lid, for later) over medium heat. Add the sliced chiles, ginger and garlic-salt mash, move around with a wood spoon or spatula and cook for a couple minutes.

  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes then add the red bell pepper and turnips. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, add the fish filets in a single layer, sprinkle with basil leaves, cover and cook until fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve with jasmine rice, additional fresh basil leaves and a spritz of fresh lime juice.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • To make an Indian-style curry,  add 1 teaspoon ground turmeric and 1 tablespoon chili powder with the garlic and chiles. Stir in 2–3 tablespoons curry “simmer sauce” (Maya Kaimal or Patak) and omit the fish sauce, brown sugar, and basil.  If you can find fresh curry leaves, this is where to put them to use—add with the fish.  
  • For some video inspiration, check out Jamie Oliver’s “So Easy Fish Curry”.
  • Substitutions for the fish:  mussels, scallops, pieces of chicken breast, or a tofu like Hodo Soy’s Thai Curry Nuggets.


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