Creamy Coconut Fish Stew


Creamy Coconut Fish Stew is a luscious and fragrant dish that combines the rich, creamy texture of coconut milk with the delicate flavors of fresh fish and vibrant spices. This stew, inspired by various tropical cuisines, particularly those of Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, offers a delightful balance of sweetness, tanginess, and savory notes. It is perfect for a cozy dinner or a special occasion, providing a comforting yet exotic meal that is both satisfying and easy to prepare. In this article, we will delve into the ingredients, preparation steps, cooking notes, serving suggestions, tips, nutritional information, and frequently asked questions for this delightful stew.


  • 1 pound of white fish fillets (such as cod, tilapia, or halibut), cut into chunks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of fish or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)


Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients
Start by preparing all the ingredients. Finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Slice the bell pepper and carrot, and chop the tomatoes. Cut the fish fillets into chunks.

Step 2: Sauté the Aromatics
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and the mixture is fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Vegetables
Add the sliced bell pepper, carrot, and chopped tomatoes to the pot. Stir well to combine with the aromatics. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften slightly.

Step 4: Incorporate the Curry Paste
Add the red curry paste to the pot, stirring to coat the vegetables evenly. Cook for another 2 minutes to release the flavors of the curry paste.

Step 5: Add the Liquids
Pour in the coconut milk and fish or vegetable broth, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Step 6: Cook the Fish
Gently add the chunks of fish to the pot. Simmer for another 5-7 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Step 7: Season the Stew
Stir in the fish sauce (if using) and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if desired) to taste.

Step 8: Serve
Ladle the hot stew into bowls, garnishing with freshly chopped cilantro.

Cooking Note

For an added depth of flavor, you can marinate the fish chunks in a bit of lime juice, salt, and pepper for about 15 minutes before cooking. This will enhance the taste and texture of the fish in the stew.

Serving Suggestions

Creamy Coconut Fish Stew pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides:

  • Serve over steamed jasmine or basmati rice to soak up the delicious broth.
  • Accompany with warm naan or crusty bread for dipping.
  • A side of lightly sautéed greens, such as spinach or bok choy, complements the stew well.
  • Garnish with extra lime wedges and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for those who enjoy additional heat.


  • Choose a firm white fish that holds its shape well during cooking. Avoid overly delicate fish that might disintegrate in the stew.
  • Adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or less red curry paste and red pepper flakes to suit your taste.
  • If you prefer a thicker stew, let it simmer uncovered for a few extra minutes to reduce the liquid.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the fish with tofu or a variety of hearty vegetables like sweet potatoes and zucchini.

Prep Time:

20 minutes

Cooking Time:

30 minutes

Total Time:

50 minutes

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 350 per serving
  • Protein: 25g per serving
  • Sodium: 700mg per serving


Q1: Can I use frozen fish for this stew?
Yes, you can use frozen fish. Make sure to thaw it completely and pat it dry before adding it to the stew to ensure even cooking and prevent excess water from diluting the flavors.

Q2: Is there a substitute for coconut milk?
If you are allergic to coconut or prefer a different flavor, you can substitute with heavy cream or a plant-based alternative such as almond milk or cashew cream. Keep in mind that this will alter the flavor and texture of the stew.

Q3: How can I make this stew spicier?
To make the stew spicier, add more red curry paste or include fresh chili peppers such as Thai bird’s eye chilies. You can also sprinkle in more red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce.

Q4: Can I prepare this stew in advance?
Yes, this stew can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors often develop even more after sitting. Reheat gently on the stove before serving.

Q5: What other types of fish work well in this stew?
Besides cod, tilapia, and halibut, you can use mahi-mahi, snapper, or even salmon. Just ensure the fish is firm and fresh.

Q6: Can I add other seafood to the stew?
Absolutely! Shrimp, scallops, or mussels can be wonderful additions. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to avoid overcooking.


Creamy Coconut Fish Stew is a delicious and versatile dish that brings a taste of the tropics to your table. Its combination of creamy coconut milk, tender fish, and aromatic spices creates a comforting and satisfying meal. Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner or a special dish to impress guests, this stew is sure to delight. Enjoy the rich flavors and vibrant colors of this wonderful stew, and don’t hesitate to make it your own with your favorite ingredients and spices.

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