Fish fillets in coconut milk: an Indian recipe that doesn't sting if you don't want to (and with easy to find ingredients)


Indian cuisine is one of the great Asian cuisines, but perhaps the most misrepresented has reached Spain. Most of the Indian dishes that we know are, specifically, from the Punjab region (in the north of the country, next to Pakistan), which represent only a tiny part of what we can find in such a gigantic country.

Although we would never associate Indian cuisine with fish, in reality the country has more than 7,500 km of coastline, and there are hundreds of seafood dishes, with all kinds of influences. This is the case of Macher Malaikari, the recipe that concerns us today, which we share as a preview of the book Indian cuisine, which will be published in Spanish on October 15.

Indian Cuisine (Cuisine T)

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As Asma Khan, the chef of the famed London restaurant Darjeeling Express and the author of this magnificent cookbook, explains, coconut milk is commonly used in East Asian cuisine, but rarely in Bengali dishes, which often accompany fish and seafood. with mustard.

Chef Asma Khan.

It was the Bengali workers sent by the British government to the Malay Peninsula to build train tracks who discovered coconut milk and began to use it in typical preparations of their area, which gave rise to this nineteenth-century fusion dish.

In London, Khan makes this dish with fish common in the British Isles, such as halibut, plaice or tilapia, but it can be made with any white fish. We have opted for hake and amazing. The only rare ingredients in Spain that the original recipe has are ginger and garlic pastes, but they can be substituted without much problem for grated garlic and ginger.


For 4 people
  • Hake fillet or other white fish 950 g
  • Teaspoons ground turmeric 2
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • White onion 2
  • Garlic clove 2
  • Fresh ginger a small piece
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Tablespoon concentrated tomato 1
  • Fresh coriander
  • Fresh chilli (optional)
  • Coconut milk 400 ml

How to make fish fillets in coconut milk

Difficulty: Medium
  • Total time 40 m
  • Elaboration 10 m
  • Cooking 30 m

Cut the fish fillets into large chunks and remove the skin (this recipe is great to use with frozen fish if you want even less work). Mix them with one of the teaspoons of turmeric and a little salt and let them rest for between 10 minutes and half an hour.

Meanwhile, cut the onion into very fine julienne strips and sauté it with olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or casserole over medium-high heat. You must caramelize the onion in the Indian style, so that it is crunchy. To do this, do not lower the heat too much, add some salt when the onion begins to be translucent, and stir constantly to achieve a uniform cooking. The onion is ready when it has a golden brown color on the tips and a caramelized color in the central part. Remove the onion from the pot with the help of a slotted spoon and place it on a plate as far apart as possible, so that it is not soft.

Once you have the onion ready, in the same pot, add a little more oil, and fry the fish fillets, approximately 20 or 30 seconds per side, so that they are sealed but not completely cooked. Remove the fish and reserve.

In the same container, over medium-high heat, add the two cloves of garlic and the ginger (I used a piece the size of a thumb, but if you like it you can add more), well grated. Let them fry for a minute and then add a teaspoon of paprika and another of turmeric. If you see that the mixture sticks, add a little water. Next, add the tomato paste, four tablespoons of warm water, a pinch more of salt, and the fried onion. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes, until the oil appears around the edges.

Add the steaks again and cook for two minutes. Then add the coconut milk and, immediately afterwards, turn off the heat and put the lid on, so that the fish finishes cooking with the residual heat. Check the salt level before serving with a little chopped fresh coriander and a few slices of chilli if you like it spicy. If you don't add the chilli and use sweet paprika, the dish is great and it doesn't spice at all.

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