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Monkfish Curry with Coconut Milk

Monkfish curry with coconut milk, this is a quick and easy fish curry with south Indian influences that is as delicious as it is simple.

When I say quick, the cooking of this delicious fish curry takes around 20 minutes and prep weighs in at a leisurely 10 minutes.

South Indian influenced monkfish curry with coconut milk.

South Indian Easy Fish Curry

My love of curries from around the world is hardly hidden under a bushel, likewise, my love of fish sits front and centre on my website.

This delicious Indian-influenced monkfish curry joins other favourites like my cod Thai green fish curry, mackerel choo chee curry and Bangladeshi macher jhol.

This South Indian-style dish shares a little in common with my Keralan influenced fish curry, squid curry and South Indian coconut chicken curry. However, this recipe uses the unique properties of monkfish tail.

Once upon a time, it was used as a cheaper substitute for scampi because of its similar meaty texture. It is no longer cheaper and is a much-prized and well-thought-of fish.

It is a luxurious purchase though and this dish scales back some of the really bold curry flavours to ensure that the flavour is not overwhelmed.

But this simple curry is quick to make and requires very few kitchen skills. The most important part of the recipe is preparation, get everything chopped before you start cooking and you are good to go!

If you have any monkfish left over, be sure to give my breaded fish goujons a whirl, they taste superb.

Overhead South Indian influenced monkfish curry with coconut milk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use another type of fish?

This curry is designed to make the most of the very robust and almost meaty nature of monkfish.

You could use other white fish like cod, pollock, coley hake (whiting) or halibut but you will need to be much more careful when poaching the fish. It will almost certainly break up a little.

You can prevent this a little by curing the fish in salt and sugar for around an hour. This is something that I do in my Amritsari fish pakora.

Can I use a different type of stock?

Personally speaking, I would rather use water than subbing out for vegetable or chicken stock in this recipe. Just be sure to add enough salt to balance the dish.

How spicy is this curry?

No there is the million-dollar question. I find this curry to be medium to hot, however, your tolerance to chilli will almost definitely be different to mine!

You should increase or decrease the chillies and chilli powder te be to your preference based on your experience.

Can I use regular tomatoes?

Yes, use 1-2 medium tomatoes that weigh around 150-175g in total. Cut them into a 1-1.5cm dice.

Do I have to use Saffron?

No, you can omit it. It is expensive but it has a uniquely wonderful flavour and as monkfish is a luxury I figured I’d go the whole hog on treating us!

Do I have to cook this in a wok?

No, I like to use a wok for a lot of my Indian cookery. You could use a medium (24cm or 10″) saucepan, I would avoid using a frying pan as the sauce will not sit deeply enough to poach the fish.

Close up South Indian influenced monkfish curry with coconut milk.

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this South Indian style monkfish curry with rice and bread.

My choice for rice is usually some simply steamed or boiled basmati rice. However, a good pilau rice or even an Indian style onion fried rice would be awesome.

When it comes to bread I have a weakness for tandoori style naan bread, but I think that this dish works much better with chapatis.

If you want something a little bit more substantial some Indian style potatoes work well with this fish curry. Both aloo methi (fenugreek potatoes) and Bombay potatoes work equally well.

As for garnish, I would usually opt for more fresh coriander. If you really wanted to go the extra mile some crispy fried onions.

South Indian influenced monkfish curry with coconut milk gravy and steamed rice.

Equipment Used

None of the equipment listed is specific to any brand unless otherwise stated:

  • Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok but anything will do.
  • Chopping Board.
  • Sharp kitchen knife.
  • Stovetop.
South Indian influenced monkfish curry with coconut milk gravy and steamed rice.
Yield: 2 Servings

Indian Influenced Monkfish Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This delicious South Indian influenced monkfish curry comes with a spicy coconut milk gravy and can go from your fridge to your table in around 30 minutes!


  • 350g Monkfish
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 (35g) Shallot
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 10 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 8 Curry Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 100ml (⅓ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Fish Stock
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Coconut Milk
  • Pinch Saffron
  • ⅛ Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • ⅛ Tsp Ground Coriander
  • ⅛ Tsp Amchoor
  • ⅛ Tsp Cardamom Powder
  • ⅛ Tsp Sugar
  • Handful of fresh coriander


  1. Makes sure that you remove any membrane from the monkfish then cut it into large chunks.
  2. Sprinkle the monkfish chunks with the garam masala and half of the salt and set aside.
  3. Peel the shallot, then cut it in half then slice it into thin (1-2mm) half-moon shapes.
  4. Peel and slice the garlic cloves as finely as you can.
  5. Cut the green chillies in half lengthways.
  6. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  7. Heat a wok over a high heat and when it is hot add the cooking oil.
  8. Throw in the mustard seeds, slit green chillis and curry leaves and cook for 30-60 seconds.
  9. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute.
  10. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  11. Pour in the fish stock, lemon juice, and coconut milk and add the saffron, then stir to combine.
  12. Stir in the chilli powder, coriander powder, amchoor, cardamom powder, sugar, and remaining salt then simmer for 5 minutes. Be careful with the salt, have a taste before you add it because it may not be needed depending on your fish stock.
  13. Add the monkfish, stir to coat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the monkfish is opaque spooning over some sauce every minute or two.
  14. Finally, stir through the chopped coriander leaves just before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 501Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 742mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 39g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Wednesday 5th of July 2023

We’ve just had this dish for dinner, nice 👌 I think I overcooked the Monkfish though and not a fan of chillis so put some hot sauce on the table that we call Kaitaia Fire.

Brian Jones

Sunday 30th of July 2023

That's a shame, glad you enjoyed it though!

Lisa R

Saturday 1st of April 2023

This is incredible! So quick and easy to make and the only ingredient I was missing was the amchoor. Thanks for a delicious recipe!

Brian Jones

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

So glad you enjoyed it Lisa, thanks for taking the time to ell me :)

Nick Jones

Sunday 22nd of January 2023

Can you send me your immaculate Keralan sauce to which all I need to do is add monk fish ?

It is my ultimate Indian food dish .



Brian Jones

Wednesday 1st of February 2023

lol, sadly a delivery service is not on my roadmap at the moment ;)

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