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Kerala-Style Fish Curry

With Tomatoes and Spinach

  • All White Fish
  • Soup / Stew
  • Braise / Simmer
  • Grace Parisi
  • Indian / South Asian
  • Active Time:25 min
  • Total Time:30 min
  • Servings:4
  • Difficulty:Easy
Photo by Rachael Martin

This (mostly) classic fish curry comes from Kerala, in southern coastal India, where seafood and coconut are in great abundance. Curry leaves, no relation to curry powder, impart a pleasant bitterness and can be found fresh in Indian markets or dried online. There are no real substitutes, but unavailability will not change how delicious this dish is. While not traditional, we’ve added spinach for extra nutrition. It’s delicious, super easy to prepare, and great with most any white fish or even spot shrimp


  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil

  • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger

  • 1 medium jalapeño or Serrano chile, seeded and minced

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • ¼ cup unsweetened fine shredded coconut

  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds

  • 10 fresh or dried curry leaves (optional)

  • 1 medium vine-ripened tomato, coarsely chopped

  • 2 cups bottled clam juice

  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound white fish fillets, such as yelloweye, cod, rockfish, or halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box

  • 3 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped

  • 2 scallions thinly sliced

  • Steamed basmati rice and cilantro leaves


Sauté the Vegetables and Spices

In a medium pot, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, ginger, chile, and garlic, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the shredded coconut, curry powder, turmeric, mustard seeds, and curry leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Simmer the Sauce

Add the tomato, clam juice, and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and add it to the pot. Bring to a boil, and cook until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Cook the Fish and Serve

Add the fish and spinach, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer just until fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the scallions and serve with rice and cilantro.

Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Grab a dry Austrian Riesling to match the flavors in the curry with lime leaf notes in the wine.

Change It Up

Like most soups and stews, this curry is even better the next day. Rewarm it gently to avoid overcooking the fish.


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