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Homemade doesn’t have to mean hard work! Coconut Curry Fish is a quick and tasty take on a classic Sri Lankan dish using supermarket basics.

I love this recipe!
It is one of those crave-inducing recipes that is super easy to whip together. Ideal on all fronts. It’s almost so simple I want to keep it a secret; so people think I slaved away on a flavorful, sweet and savory curry all day. You guys! This takes less than half an hour to make!

Easy Coconut Curry Fish

Here’s your coconut curry fish grocery list: a red onion, garlic, grape tomatoes, fish and coconut milk. That is, if you don’t already have those things. The other ingredients are from your spice rack! Pretty sure you’ll already have these spices from other recipes – fennel seeds, turmeric, basil and cayenne. I don’t even count olive oil and salt. You have those.

You saute the onion with the fennel seeds to start off. I do this to coax the flavor out of the fennel seeds. The oils in the seeds heat along with the olive oil and seep into the dish. Then the seeds themselves aren’t crazy potent when you bite into one with everything else.

I add the garlic a few minutes later with the tomatoes and spices, because I don’t want it to cook too long and burn. The spices get their moment to heat up and release their flavor, and meld together.

Easy Coconut Curry Fish

The fish cooks very quickly. I like any kind of white fish here. That can mean tilapia, cod, flounder or even a trout or snapper. Find the kind of fish you like and just cook it until it’s opaque. Thicker fish will take just a few minutes longer to cook through.

I added the coconut milk at the end to just heat up and mix with the spice flavors. It retains it’s sweetness and acts as the perfect sauce to eat with the fish and some rice.

•TIP:  I also make this with chicken or shrimp. I cut the chicken into thin cutlets so it cooks in about the same time as tender fish. Let me know how you like this easy dinner!

5 from 1 vote
Easy Coconut Curry Fish
Work Time
25 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Coconut milk adds delicious flavor to this Sri Lankan-inspired dish.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: coconut curry, curry, easy dinner, fish
Yield: 4 Servings
Calories: 164 kcal
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes 8 oz, halved
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp dried basil
  • tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 fillets fish (tilapia, flounder or cod) 1 lb fillets
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel seeds and onion and cook 3 min. Add garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, basil, cayenne, salt and ½ cup water and bring to a simmer; cook for 6 to 7 min or until liquid is reduced by half.
  2. Put fish into sauce and reduce heat to medium low, then cook for about 3 min until one side of fish turns opaque. Turn fish over. Add coconut milk, stir sauce gently and bring to a simmer; fish is done when it's opaque. Serve fish with sauce.
Recipe Notes

I also make this with chicken or shrimp. I cut the chicken into thin cutlets so it cooks in about the same time as tender fish.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Coconut Curry Fish
Amount Per Serving
Calories 164 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Sodium 592mg 25%
Potassium 252mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 6.7%
Vitamin C 9.6%
Calcium 2.8%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal May 2011
Photography Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling Paul Grimes
Prop Styling Paige Hicks

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