Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fish Curry with Garden Vegetables

We love anything curry here. Thai curries, Indian curries, curry roasted potatoes, you name it. Our kids love curry too. Those flavors are passed through breastmilk, so they became addicted quite young. One of my favorite things about making a curried dish is the fact that it is fast, easy, and of course, a one-pot meal.

This Thai fish curry recipe uses fresh garden veggies, halibut, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil. The key to a good curry is timing. I like to keep the veggies all evenly cooked and not over-cooked. Carrots and onions take a little longer to cook, so I start with those. I will test a carrot, and when it is about halfway done cooking, I will add the other faster cooking veggies such as zucchini and bell peppers.

When purchasing the fish, I usually buy 1.5 to 2 pounds and then ask to have the skin removed. When I am ready to make the curry all I need to do is cut the fish into cubes. It is much easier this way, especially when you have twin two-year-old boys chasing each other below you arguing whether each is an airplane or not ("I'm an you're not....yes I am....zoom!").

This curry has another key ingredient that is very beneficial to your health: Turmeric. This orangish-yellow spice will stain your clothes forever but is an excellent anti-inflammatory. In Tom's words: "Curcumin is an amazing compound found in turmeric that can change our gene expression. It has a tendency to lower inflammation, increase detox enzyme expression, and increase antioxidant protein expression. In short, it lowers the impact of life's insults, and increases your innate buffering mechanisms to minimize the residual effect of those insults."

Thai Fish Curry with Garden Veggies

This curry can easily be made vegan too by omitting the fish and replacing the fish sauce with a little extra Herbamare. Any variety of garden vegetables will work here. Try walla walla onions, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans....or even mushrooms. Kaffir lime leaves can be found at your local Asian market. They are very inexpensive and can be frozen. I keep a few small bags in the freezer and then take them out to use as I need them. Kaffir lime leaves look somewhat similar to bay leaves and will give your curry an authentic Thai flavor. Fish only takes about 3 minutes to cook, so be sure to add it last! Enjoy with cooked brown jasmine rice for a complete meal.

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into crescent moons
4 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water, chicken stock, or fish stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 teaspoons Thai Kitchen red curry paste
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen fish sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Herbamare
2 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and then cut into rounds
2 small red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium ripe garden tomatoes, diced small
1.5 to 2 pounds fresh Halibut, skin removed and cut into cubes
large handful of fresh Thai Basil leaves, chiffonade (sliced thinly)

In an 11-inch skillet or other large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and sauté a few minutes more.

Then add the turmeric, coconut milk, water, lime leaves, red curry paste, fish sauce, and Herbamare. Stir to incorporate the curry paste. Simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes or until carrots are partway cooked.

Then add the zucchini and bell peppers. Note: if you are using green beans, you will want to add them earlier. Simmer until the veggies are crisp-tender then add the tomatoes and fish and simmer for an additional 3 minutes or so. Be careful not to stir too much otherwise the fish will fall apart. Sprinkle with Thai basil and serve hot!

More Curry Recipes:
Fresh Vegetable Curry
Thai Green Curry
Raw Cilantro-Lime Chutney

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. I love anything curry too, Ali :-) Looks awesome!

  2. How tasty! I love Indian curries, but haven't really branched out into Thai yet. Looks like I will be soon, though!

  3. Ali,

    I just PDF'd this recipe. =) I love curry and this version looks wonderful! I also love the thought of your boys running (flying) around being airplanes. My boys were close in age and did the same things. It makes me smile as I loved that age.

    It was so nice meeting you at the Flying Apron. You have a beautiful family!

    P.S. Thanks for the recipe. I can feel fall in the air around here and fish curry will go perfectly with the cooler temperatures.

  4. I have to make this! I love curry!

  5. Just wondering about Kaffir Lime leaves. Living on the east of the mountains, things aren't as easy to come by (such as Kaffir Lime leaves). Is there a decent substitute, or a dried version that might work? I have several recipes that call for them and I always feel a little jipped that I don't have them in my final product ( I used a lime juiced and zested....sure it isn't the same thing). Thanks and I live by your book and blog :)

  6. Thanks gals for the comments! :)

    Jill - Although I have heard of subbing lime zest for lime leaves, I wouldn't recommend it. The flavors are just so different. If you can't find kaffir lime leaves locally I would just omit them. You can however buy them online. They freeze well for a year or more! Here is a link:

    Happy Cooking! :)

  7. Hi Ali--This looks like a terrific dish. I am slowly starting to like curry, in small amounts. You know I had never heard of kaffir leaves until Diane (the ultimate foodie) was looking for them in Seattle. She and Wendy knew all about them. We didn't find any and she was given some explanation at the Indian market that made it sound like they were restricted by new laws or costs somehow. Maybe she'll comment and share the info. Nice that you gave a link for ordering though ... that might solve the problem!

    You have to love little boys that are full of energy! I'm thinking back to Son at that age. He wore us out, but it was a good thing all the way round. ;-) It was great seeing your whole family in person in Seattle. Such a treat, truly ... just too short a visit!


  8. that fish curry looks so yummmy!

    just a note on the turmeric stain - wash it and dry it on direct sunlight and voila! the stain vanishes off!

  9. Wow, how colorful and it sounds SO good. I love Thai curries...well, any curry, really!

  10. Making this tonight!

    One question... can anyone tell me the difference between the canned Thai Kitchen coconut milk on the Asian foods aisle and the So Delicious boxed coconut milk on the natural foods aisle? Both are organic and both are my only options for coconut milk in my one-horse-town :)

  11. I LOVE curry, and have tried many recipes. Until this recipe, I hadn't found one that I would make again....thank you! I substituted green curry paste for the red, and it was delicious. This recipe will definitely be a staple in my kitchen - I've already had several requests to make it again :)

  12. This fish curry is excellent! I've made it several times now. Sometimes I don't use fish, but tofu or just veggies. It's terrific. Thank you so much!

    Jeanne Normand White, MSOM, L.Ac.
    Siskiyou Clinic of Natural Medicine
    850 Siskiyou Blvd, Suite 8
    Ashland, OR 97520


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)