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Cod Curry With Coconut

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This simple cod curry is so good!

I think you’re going to like this cod curry. Very few spices are required but the ingredients just seem to work so well together. 

It is important not to overcook the cod. If you do, it will fall apart. 

Your curry will still taste very good but I like it with large pieces of cod, drizzled with the sauce on top of a bed of steaming hot Basmati rice.

This easy cod curry is awesome served over Basmati rice.


This cod curry was developed to taste like the amazing fish curries in Southern India.

I learned to make this cod curry in Kerala where it was made with Kingfish instead of cod.

Kingfish is an oily fish and has a different flavour and texture to cod but I was pretty sure this recipe would work using cod. Luckily I was right!

Having cooked Indian food for many years, I wasn’t surprised to see the chef in India using processed cheese in his sauce. This is done quite often nowadays.

As I didn’t have any processed cheese on hand, so I used Cheddar and it worked very well. This is optional, however so you could just leave it out. 

Working ahead…

If you find it more convenient to get things cooked earlier in the day, this cod curry is a good one for that.

Like most curries, the flavours develop and the curry actually tastes better if allowed to sit for a while. 

I often make the sauce in the morning and then place it in the fridge.

Then I heat it up, add the cod and let it cook for just a few minutes and serve. 

Can I use other fish?

Yes! Any meaty fish will work well here. I have made this same cod curry using other fish and loved them too. 

You could try it with mackerel, halibut, salmon, codling… If it sounds good, do it. 

In fact, the sauce is delicious brought to a simmer and then used to steam mussels or clams. 

What if I can’t find fresh or frozen curry leaves?

Unfortunately, there is no substitute for curry leaves. You could make this cod curry without them but they aren’t usually all that difficult to find. 

I purchase mine from a local Indian grocer but they can also be found at online Asian retailers and even Amazon. 

I highly recommend trying to source some curry leaves for this cod curry. You’ll be glad you did. 

infusing the spices into the oil

Infuse the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves into the oil.

frying onions

Add the onions and fry for a few minutes. Then add the garam masala/curry powder and turmeric and stir it in.

Adding garlic and ginger paste to the base masala

Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook off the rawness.

Stirring the chillies into the sauce

Stir in the chopped chillies.

Adding coconut milk to the sauce

Add the coconut milk and saffron and bring to a simmer.

Stir in tomatoes

Stir in the tomatoes.

Adding the cod

Stir in the cod. It only needs to cook a couple of minutes in the hot sauce.

Finished cod curry

All done!

If you like this cod curry recipes, you might like to try some of these too…

Malabar fish curry
Keralan fish curry
Keralan prawn curry
Thai Grilled Fish
Thai fried whole fish with garlic and chilli sauce
Goan fish curry

cod curry

Dig in!


Yield: 4

Cod Curry With Coconut

Cod Curry With Coconut
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 4 x 200g cod fillets (Any meaty white fish will do just fine)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala or curry powder
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies - finely chopped
  • 4 plum tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 400ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated Cheddar cheese smashed into a paste with a pinch of flour (optional)
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Juice of one lime


  1. Cut the cod fillets into two inch chunks and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over medium high heat. When hot, throw in the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the curry leaves, cumin seeds and turmeric and allow to infuse in the oil for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onion and fry for about three minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Now add the ginger and garlic paste and let it sizzle for 30 seconds to cook off the rawness. Add the chopped chillies and garam masala/curry powder and diced tomatoes and stir well to combine.
  5. Saute for about a minute mixing all the ingredients well.
  6. Now pour in the coconut milk. You want to bring it to a nice hot bubble and then add the Cheddar paste and the saffron.
  7. Whisk quickly so that the Cheddar blends well into the rest of the sauce.
  8. Just before serving, add the cod. You only want to cook the fish through. It should only take a minute or two. Do not over cook or the cod will fall apart and you'll be left with a fishy mess rather than a hot curry with nice chunky pieces of cod.
  9. To serve, squeeze the lime juice over the fish and carefully stir in the chopped coriander.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the garam masala. Serve with hot chapatis or plain white rice.

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