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Easy Monkfish Curry

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This easy monkfish curry recipe is so good!

Of all the quite difficult recipes I’ve attempted over the years, this easy monkfish curry recipe is still my wife’s favourite. The flavours are simple work so well together.

If you like monkfish, you are going to love this easy monkfish curry recipe!

You really could use any meaty fish such as cod, halibut or coley but I have to say that I prefer it with monkfish.

Monkfish curry

So good. Easy to make too.

How to get this recipe right…

It is essential that you use the freshest ingredients you can find.

Do that and you’ve expect a party in your mouth.

There are so many complimentary flavours in this easy monkfish curry. It may be simple but it just works.

About the coconut milk…

I have developed this recipe so that you can use a whole tin of coconut milk along with a little block coconut. 

Block coconut is not available in every country but there are substitutes. 

When I learned this easy monkfish curry recipe, I made it with freshly prepared coconut milk. 

The light coconut milk was added first and then the creamy coconut milk was added at the end. 

When using the tinned coconut milk, try to cook the fish in the light stuff. Then stir in thick coconut milk and/or as I have done block coconut at the end. You may need to open two 400ml tins if you can’t find the block coconut.

What is kokum?

Kokum is a delicious souring agent used in many south Indian fish curries. 

It is a dried berry that is added to the curry to give it a delicious sour flavour. I really hope you can find it where you live. There really is no substitute.

That said, you could substitute other souring agents like lemon juice or tamarind concentrate. The flavour will be different but it will still taste amazing. 

Although edible, the kokum berries are not meant to be eaten. 

Working ahead…

You can make the sauce up to a day ahead of time. Then just cook the monkfish in the heated up sauce until cooked through. 

If working ahead makes things easier for you, then go ahead and do that with this easy monkfish curry. 

Do you like cooking by photographs?

I have included step by step photographs of the recipe for you below. Just get your ingredients together and you’re ready to go. 

The written recipe is at the bottom of this page. 

Monkfish marinating in turmeric

Marinate the monkfish with the turmeric.

Infusing curry leaves in oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the curry leaves and infuse them for 30 seconds.


Adding onions to the oil

Add the chopped onion and fry for about 30 seconds.


Adding ground spices

Add the ground spices and chopped chillies and stir into the oil.


adding coconut milk and kokum

Add the coconut milk and kokum and simmer for a few minutes.


Stirring in the fish

Stir in the fish to begin cooking. Add the sliced chillies.


Adding tomatoes and coconut

Add the tomatoes and block coconut and continue simmering for a few minutes until the fish is cooked through.


Adding coriander

Add the coriander and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.


Monkfish curry

Dig in!

Monkfish curry

I love this simple curry. Really good. Give it a try.

If you like this easy monkfish curry recipe, you might also like to try some of these…

Keralan prawn curry
Keralan fish curry
White fish curry
Goan fish curry
Tandoori prawns

Easy Monkfish Curry

Monkfish curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 700g monkfish cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green chilli peppers - finely chopped
  • 2 green chilli peppers - halved
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 3 - 4 kokum berries
  • 10 cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 50g block coconut
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon or lime (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala


  1. Place the cubed monkfish into a bowl with the turmeric and mix well with your hands. Allow to marinade for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the curry leaves and fry for about 20 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Throw in the chopped onion and fry until translucent and lightly browned. That should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger paste along with the chopped green chilli peppers.
  5. Stir in the cumin and coriander powder and stir to combine.
  6. Now pour in the coconut milk and bring to a bubble.
  7. Add the kokum berries and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the halved chili peppers followed by monkfish, block coconut and the tomatoes. Stir it all into the mixture.
  9. Allow the monkfish to cook through in the sauce. This should take about 5 minutes.

To serve

  1. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with chopped coriander.
  2. I like to serve this monkfish curry with plain white rice because nothing more is needed.
  3. Simply pour the monkfish curry into warmed bowls and enjoy.

Did you like this recipe?

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I hope you enjoy this easy monkfish curry recipe. If you do try it, please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you. 

Lucy Sim Conway

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

What is a block coconut? Can I substitute that with coconut milk?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Block coconut is available in all Asian shops and a lot of supermarkets. You could use coconut milk but not too much as it would make it too liquidy. Thanks Dan


Saturday 27th of August 2016

Just made this using tomatoes out of the garden, first fish curry, OH really impressed. Really lovely recipe thanks Dan .

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 21st of September 2016

Thank you very much Pam. :-)


Chica Andaluza

Wednesday 4th of June 2014

I see that this recipe was published a couple of years ago but just wanted to let you know I came across it recently and made it a few nights ago and thought it was incredible - thanks for such a great dish!

ann greaney

Thursday 29th of January 2015

yes, i made this last night, fantastic tastes and easy recipe -thank you!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 1st of July 2014

Thank you very much. Really glad you liked it.


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