Monkfish curry

Monkfish curry
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Takes 40 minutes to make, plus cooling

A South Indian-style fish curry, also known as meen kolumbu, is made with monkfish and lots of wonderful, aromatic Indian spices. You can also use tuna, salmon or halibut in place of monkfish.


  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp (available in Bart’s range, from supermarkets)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-12 fresh or dried curry leaves (Waitrose stocks the dried variety)
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and roughly cut up
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 fish steaks, 100g-125g each, use tuna, monkfish, salmon or halibut


  1. Heat half the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coriander, fenugreek and fennel seeds and chopped red chillies. Sauté for a couple of minutes. When the chillies have softened slightly, add the sliced onion. Fry, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened. Set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Purée the cooled spice mixture in a blender or a food processor with the tamarind pulp, adding a little water to loosen the mixture, if necessary. Set aside.
  3. In another frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop, then stir in the curry leaves, green chillies, garlic and turmeric. Mix in the spice purée and stir well. Pour in 50ml water to make a sauce consistency, season with a little salt to taste, then add the sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the fish steaks to the frying pan and cook for a further 8-10 minutes over a medium heat until the fish is cooked to your liking. Transfer to warmed serving plates and serve with pappadums or steamed plain rice.


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