Monkfish curry or any fish curry is a must-make recipe for any fish and spice lover. It is an easy dish to cook, ideal for students or any novice in the kitchen who want to impress with a sophisticated looking dish - yet, quick and easy to make.
I’m a huge fan of monkfish, yes it is not the cheapest, in fact, I am not sure such a thing as cheap fish does exist. It is long gone now.
I wasn't sure I should have used monkfish in the first monkfish curry I ever did a good few years back now but hey, I am so glad I have! It is probably the best fish you can use in a curry. It has a firm texture, tastes amazing and delivers an absolutely fantastic curry. What else I could ever wish for?!
If you are on a searching spree for something special, pretty unique, amazing looking and tasting fish dish, like a bit of a kick and want something healthy at the same time, you have to try this.
If you master the quick and easy art of making this curry sauce, you’ll soon realise that you are a master of curry sauce and this particular sauce can be used as a base for any seafood curry.
How to make monkfish curry
This is a Sri Lankan style monkfish coconut curry recipe that I often make and it is delicious every time no matter what fish I am using and for this recipe, you can use virtually any fish you like or happen to have in hand.
For the best results and a superb tasty monkfish curry recipe, it's best to add as many fresh ingredients as possible especially the ginger, garlic and curry leaves. These are the key to success and the most amazing flavours. These ingredients just mentioned above are crucial and totally not worth using powders or store-bought. Please forget about garlic or ginger paste, these are never the same and most of them have additives.
Here are the important steps:
- Marinate the monkfish - this step is important to achieve a nice and full of flavour monkfish curry. The longer you marinate the fish the better.
- Make the curry sauce by adding some of the ingredients ( chopped onions, the seeds, cardamom, curry leaves, curry powder, the remaining garlic, ginger, chillies, salt and pepper). Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes until the onion have become translucid and has softened.
- Stir in the fresh tomatoes or the tomato paste/tinned tomatoes, tamarind paste, and coconut milk; season, then bring to a boil.
- Add the monkfish together with the marinade to the curry sauce and simmer over low heat. Cook the monkfish curry until the fish is cooked through and becomes opaque. Do not stir once you have added the fish, just shake the pot or twist.
- Serve over steamed basmati rice. Scatter some chopped coriander leaves. Bon appetite!
All you will need for this fish curry recipe is a few ingredients but if you are a curry lover you'll have most of these ingredients in your pantry cupboard:
Here's what you might need for monkfish curry:
I am listing here all the possible ingredients/ alternatives you could use in this beautiful monkfish curry dish. So, I do juggle with those adding some or at times I even add all, sometimes I skip some, it is all mood dependant 😉
- fresh organic turmeric root
- monkfish fillets (cut into chunks) - ask the fishmonger to debone and deskin your fish
- onions (finely sliced) (red onions or shallots)
- curry leaves (I only recommend fresh curry leaves- dried curry leaves don't taste anything like the fresh ones, in fact, they taste like nothing so in general, I do not even bother adding these at all if I do not hhave the amazing fresh ones)
- fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped)
- Thai green chillies (finely sliced)
- garlic (grated or crushed and finely chopped)
- cardamom pods ( bashed ) - not added cardamom here in this recipe this time
- mixed seeds ( in equal amounts - black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds)
- fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped (tomato paste can also be used or tinned tomatoes if you would like a jucier curry
- tamarind paste (crucial for any fish curry)
- coconut milk use a light coconut milk too
- fresh coriander (finely chopped)
- lime juice ( use some zest too if your limes are unwaxed)
- olive oil (optional) you may use a little ghee if you fancy. As a general rule, I do not use/add any oil at allnwhen cooking with meat or fish.
- steamed basmati rice to serve
Monkfish curry variations
- monkfish and prawn curry - the prawns can be added at the same time with the monkfish or a few minutes later - it is equally good and all right;
- or make a monkfish Thai style curry - just add the coconut and the lemongrass and here you have it!
Any white fish makes a great alternative, any firm-fleshed fish is ideal and this fish curry:
• cod (all types)
A curry like this is an excellent way to disguise any fish flavour shortfalls so it is a great option for any "fishy" fish, freshwater fish or a great dish to make for any economical fish use.
Salmon and mackerel (Spanish mackerel as well as the king mackerel) as bluefish options are also great alternatives for this nice dish. Salmon will have to be cut into bigger chunks.
Yes, absolutely! The more it stays the better it will taste but when reheating, keep a very close eye on it not to overcook the fish.
The answer is yes, if you wish to make this or any fish curry recipe, you may freeze it in bags or an airtight container.
Serve it with white basmati rice, jasmine rice, red rice, brown rice, naan, flatbread. Why not cut some of the carbs and have it with broccoli or cauliflower rice. It works well served with couscous too.
I also make almost always a nice dhal or dal ( lentil curry) to go with it.
Monkfish is known as poor man's lobster. Its meat is white, tight, and it is often compared to lobster meat. It's not only similar to lobster in texture and flavour. It has a mild, sweet flavour and it is not fishy.
Other fish recipes you may enjoy :
- Creamy fish soup (chowder)
- Easy Fish Pie Recipe
- Open fish pie with a coconut milk twist
- Organic veg & fish soup
- Delicious Baked Cod Recipe
- Simple sardine fillets and polenta with Parmesan cheese and garlic sauce
- Salmon Wellington
More curries that you must try:
- Delicious and super healthy Lamb Curry
- Duck Thai curry with fresh coconut and lemongrass infused rice
- Vegetarian Thai curry on egg-fried rice
- Ox tongue curry
- Squid curry with turmeric rice
- Quick vegan curry - by A couple Cooks
- Vegetarian Thai curry on egg-fried rice
Delicious Monkfish Curry
- 800 g monkfish deboned and skinned *
- 400 ml coconut milk I used light coconut milk - 1 can (tin)
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder or fresh root finely grated
- 2 pieces tamarind dried garcinia Cambogia aka Malabar tamarind or brindle berry *
- 2 cloves garlic extra large
- 1 tablespoon ginger freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon curry powder or more if you like it extra hot
- 15-20 leaves fresh curry leaves amazing flavour enhancer
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander Washed and chopped
- 1 small lemon or lime juice and rind
- 1 teaspoon mixed seeds * see notes for details
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 small chillies optional ( for extra heat)
- 2 pods cardamom crushed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil) optional
- 6 med fresh tomatoes or 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Into a glass bowl, place the monkfish and marinate with turmeric, some lime zest and lime juice, salt, pepper, ½ of the curry powder and 1 clove or two of garlic grated or made into a paste. Mix well to coat the fish and place in the fridge for 20 min to 2 hours to marinate. The longer the better.
- Add the olive or coconut oil to a larger pan over medium-high heat and add the chopped onions, the seeds, cardamom, curry leaves, remaining ½ tbsp of curry powder, the remaining garlic, ginger, chillies, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until the onion has softened and slightly coloured. I add some water as I do not like to fry it. I like the frying but just doesn't agree with us so I avoid it. It is healthier too.
- Stir in the roughly chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste and coconut milk; season, then bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, uncovered stirring occasionally.
- Add the marinated monkfish to the curry sauce and simmer over low heat for 6-8 minutes (depending on how chunky your fish is). Cook until the fish is cooked through and becomes opaque.
- Remove the cardamom pods. Taste and season to perfection.
- Serve on steamed basmati or jasmine rice. Scatter some chopped coriander leaves.
- mixed seeds - my regular mix for any curry is:
- fenugreek, cumin and black mustard seeds;
- tomatoes - if you do not have fresh tomatoes (which I prefer) use tinned chopped Italian tomatoes or tomato paste if you want your curry less juicy;
- Tamarind - tamarind paste can also be used