Last Tuesday I got in from work and didn’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen but also wanted something really flavourful and satisfying. I had a few cod loins in the fridge that I was intending on frying (major craving for fried fish later satisfied) but that seemed like way too much hands-on effort for a Tuesday. So I scoped out the fridge and consulted the internet, happily discovering I had everything I needed to make a fairly quick and easy curried cod stew with tons of veggies and a rich coconut milk sauce to soak into some fluffy basmati.
I used this recipe as a starting point but made a few adaptations based on what I had available. The flavor base is yellow onion, garlic, ginger and Thai birds eye chilies. I added sliced carrot, diced green and red pepper, and roughly chopped tomatoes. A generous sprinkling of curry powder, extra (optional) fenugreek for more bite, and a can of coconut milk round out the flavours. There should be enough coconut milk in the pan for your fish to be at least half submerged under it. If one can isn’t enough you can top it up with up to 1/2 cup of plain water or up to 1 cup of vegetable stock – but you likely won’t need this much extra liquid for this quantity of ingredients.
Most of the effort is in cleaning and cutting the aromatics and vegetables. Once that rich broth is made, leave it to cook for 10 minutes to develop the flavours.
After about 10 minutes, gently place your fish into the sauce to poach covered over a low simmer. In a covered pot it shouldn’t take more than about 6-8 minutes total to cook the fish in the broth. I also like to rub a little curry powder and salt on the fish before poaching – it gives it some colour and infuses more flavour.
The best part is that since it’s cooking in liquid, it’s virtually foolproof. You’ll get fork tender, perfectly flaky and flavor infused fish swimming in a fragrant pool of coconut curry sauce. All in all I only spent about 15 minutes with hands on prep and 15 minutes of cooking time. Not bad for a Tuesday.
There are a lot of different vegetables you can use instead of the carrot, peppers and tomato I used. White or sweet potato would work well – though of course you will need to simmer the broth for a little longer to get it fully cooked. Cauliflower would be a great substitution since it’s so versatile and works very well with curries. Eggplant, cabbage, celery and even zucchini would likewise be good options.
The type of fish you use is also flexible. Any type of white fish like tilapia, pangasius, haddock, snapper or grouper will work very well. Fatty fish like salmon may be too rich for the already full-bodied sauce but a skinless salmon filet could probably still work.
If you’re really short on time you could also easily toss the onion, garlic, ginger and chiles into a food blender with a bit of oil until they form a paste. If you make extra this flavor paste can also be frozen for later use. Precut veggies also hasten the process because like I said, most of the hands-on time goes into the chopping.
Until next time,
A flavourful curried cod stew ready in 30 minutes with only 15 minutes if prep time. It’s simple to make, big on flavour and full of healthy ingredients like carrots, peppers, tomatoes and coconut milk.
- Cod loin or other type of white fish, about 500 grams / 1 lb
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cm piece of fresh ginger, diced or mashed
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced or mashed
- 2–3 birds eye chilis or 1/2 to 1 jalapeno
- 1 medium sized carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp fenugreek (optional)
- 2 + tsp salt
- 1–2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 lemon (optional)
- Handful of fresh coriander (optional)
- First prepare the aromatics and vegetables. Chop the chilis, ginger and garlic or pulse in a food blender with a bit of oil. Dice the onion finely. Also slice the carrots, dice the peppers and cut the tomatoes into rough quarters. At this point you can also rinse, pat dry and rub the fish filets with about 1/4 of the curry powder and salt.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat (about a 7/10) and add the chilis ginger, garlic and onion. Sweat for a few minutes until aromatic and then add the carrots, peppers, tomatoes, curry powder, fenugreek, and salt. Cook for about another 2-3 minutes and then pour in the coconut milk, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. This may be a good time to put some rice to cook if you like.
- Once the sauce has had a chance to cook and develop, gently place the seasoned fish filets into the pan. Once again cover and simmer for another 6-8 minutes.
- Once the fish flakes easily when pressed gently with a fork it’s cooked. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander over a bed of warm and fluffy basmati.
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: South East Asian