Coconut Fish Curry (Fish Moilee)

This delicate, but luxurious, coconut and fish curry from Meera Sodha's Made in India cookbook is a quick, simple midweek meal, packed with the flavours of Kerala. The straightforward recipe is ideal for anyone wanting to learn how to cook an authentic Indian fish curry.

Made in India: Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
130 mouth-watering Indian recipes made simple
Aromatic curries and flavourful dals
Homemade chutneys and pickles


Coconuts run amok in Kerala and there are plenty of fish in the sea. Bring them together and you have Kerala on a plate. My favourite fish to use in this curry is hake because its strong, sweet flavour complements the delicate but luxurious coconut curry, but you could easily use any other firm white fish.

Serves 4


5cm ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 fresh green chilli, roughly chopped (de-seeded if you prefer less heat)
3 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
20 fresh curry leaves (optional)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 big ripe tomatoes, quartered
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
300ml coconut milk
4 fillets (150 - 180g each) of MSC-certified firm white fish such as hake, pollack, haddock or cod, skinned
1 lime, quartered

Essential kit

You will need a pestle and mortar.


Watch how to make Meera Sodha's simple coconut curry here: 


Put the ginger, garlic and green chilli in a pestle and mortar, along with a pinch of salt, and bash to a paste.

Put the oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the curry leaves if you are using them, followed by the onions, and stir every now and then for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are pale gold. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, 1½ teaspoons of salt, the turmeric and the chilli powder. Put the lid on the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, dilute the coconut milk with 100ml of water and add to the pan. When the milk starts to bubble, add the fish fillets, turn the heat down a little, cover with the lid and cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Serve with a big squeeze of lime and some rice.

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