Fish Curry with Lime and Coconut Rice

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I was inspired to make this curry after a glorious vacation in Thailand, where we ate spicy Thai food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Any combination of fish and shellfish will work for this curry, although firm-textured fish that won't disintegrate as it cooks is best. You can leave the skins on to prevent the fish from breaking up.



Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free



Taste and Texturecreamy, hot & spicy, rich, spiced, tangy, tart


  • 14 ounces monkfish fillets, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1¾ cups coconut milk, mixed with 1¾ cups water
  • 1 pound live mussels
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5 ounces sugarsnap peas
  • 3-4 scallions, minced
  • Handful of fresh basil or cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Toasted coconut shavings for garnish (optional)
  • 1½ cups jasmine rice, washed
  • 1 cup coconut milk, mixed with ¾ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 large shallots, roughly chopped
  • 6-7 large, mild, red chili peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
  • Small handful of cilantro stems, chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, minced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, minced (or finely grated zest of 2 limes)
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3-4 tablespoons water


  1. Put the monkfish pieces into a large bowl with a little seasoning and spoon a few tablespoons of coconut milk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. Wash the mussels; discard any that do not close when gently tapped.

  2. To make the lime and coconut rice, put all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 8-10 minutes. Without removing the lid, remove from the heat and let the rice steam for 5-10 minutes.

  3. While the rice is cooking, put all the ingredients for the curry paste into a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste, stopping the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides. If necessary, add a little more water to get a finely ground paste.

  4. Heat the peanut oil in a deep pan or a wok. Add the curry paste and stir-fry for over low heat just until the paste smells fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and water mixture, then stir in the palm sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

  5. Tip in the sugarsnap peas, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mussels and monkfish, cover the pan, and simmer until the mussels have opened and the monkfish is opaque and just cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Scatter the scallions and basil leaves over the top. Serve immediately with the lime and coconut rice, garnished with a sprinkling of toasted coconut shavings.


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@LynnLeslie we appreciate your feedback. I have updated this recipe to remove the typo.

There is an error In the under Directions, last sentence. The word "open" should be replaced by the word "closed." Meaning, after washing the mussels, inspect them. Any that are open should be tapped. If they close, they are alive and can be cooked. If they do not close when tapped, discard them. They are dead.


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