Monkfish curry or any fish curry is a must-make recipe for any fish and spice lover so if you are ready to spice up your dinner I introduce you to this South Indian - Srilankan Style Monkfish Curry! We're talking succulent monkfish fillets taking a delicious dip in a rich, creamy curry sauce that's packed with aromatic goodness, It is not just any fish curry recipe – it's one of the absolute best that you can whip up entirely from scratch in just 30 minutes. Yep, you read that right!
What's the secret? Well, it's as simple as raiding your kitchen for basic ingredients, grabbing some fresh herbs, and adding spices that are totally pantry-friendly. It's like a flavor explosion waiting to happen with minimal fuss. So, let's get cooking and savor every bite of this incredible curry creation! 🌶️🐟
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.
💭 What is monkfish?
Monkfish, oh, it's a real gem! It has an incredible texture that's both succulent and meaty, with a sweet flavor that's simply divine. It has earned itself the nickname 'Poor Man's Lobster' because it's like lobster's cool, budget-friendly cousin. A taste of luxury without breaking the bank.
Now, when it comes to cooking monkfish, there's one way that always gets me excited: bathing it in a luscious, creamy curry sauce. If you're tired of the same old pan-fried, steamed, or baked monkfish dishes, then you absolutely must give this curried monkfish a whirl! It's a flavor-packed adventure you won't want to miss. 🍽️🦞
🥘 Ingredients :
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 need to make a super-delicious monkfish curry:
- 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 have the amazing fresh ones)
- fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped)
- Thai green chilies (finely sliced)
- garlic (grated or crushed and finely chopped)
- cardamom pods (bashed) - I did add cardamom here in this recipe but thought of that later hence this doesn't appear in the picture
- 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 juicer curry
- tamarind paste (crucial for any fish curry)
- coconut milk use 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 all when cooking with meat or fish.
- steamed basmati rice to serve
👩🏻🍳 How to make it
If you master the quick and easy art of making this curry sauce, you’ll soon realize that you are a master of curry sauce and this special sauce can be used as a base for any seafood curry.
This is a Sri Lankan-South Indian style monkfish coconut curry recipe that I often make and it is delicious every time no matter what fish I am using 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 ginger, garlic, and curry leaves. This is the key to success and the most unique flavors. 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 most important steps:
- Marinate the monkfish - this step is important to achieve a nice and flavor monkfish curry. The longer you marinate the fish the better.
- Make the curry sauce by adding some ingredients ( chopped onions, seeds, cardamom, curry leaves, curry powder, garlic, ginger, chilies, salt, and pepper). Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes until the onion has become translucid and 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 after adding the fish, shake the pot or twist.
- Serve over steamed basmati rice. Scatter some chopped coriander leaves. Bon appetit!
🍛 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;
- make it a Thai-style curry - just add the coconut and the lemongrass and here you have it!
🍽What to serve with monkfish curry?
Serve it on white fluffy basmati rice, jasmine rice, red rice, brown rice, with naan bread or 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. Simply divine!
- Please not to overcook the fish. Make the sause first and then add the fish.
- You may pat dry the fish with a paper towel or clean cloth to remove excess moisture.
- Be gentle when stirring as the fish could break apart.
- Use only fresh curry leaves for the best flavour.
Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Add a dash of water or stock when reheating on the stove or microwave. You may also freeze it, see notes below in the FAQs?
Any white firm-fleshed fish makes a great alternative and is ideal in this fish curry. Here are a few examples:
• cod (all types)
A curry like this is an excellent way to disguise any fish flavor 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 and 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 close eye on it to avoid overcooking 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.
Monkfish is known as poor man's lobster. Its meat is white and tight, and it is often compared to lobster meat. It's not only similar to lobster in texture and flavor. It has a mild, sweet flavor and it is not fishy.
🦑 Other fish or seafood 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 curry recipes 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
Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page if you have made this recipe and liked it. Thank you so much for stopping by!
🍛 Delicious Monkfish Curry
- large pan
- glass bowl
- chopping board
- wooden spoon
- 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