Malaysian Fish Curry

Malaysian Fish Curry

  • Serves: 4 - 5
  • Prep Time: 00:20
  • Cooking Time: 00:30

Malaysian curries have such a depth of flavour and are usually more fragrant than spicy hot. My Malaysian Fish Curry has a delicious intense fragrance and has so much flavour, it's one of my favourite curry dishes. I've packed it with gut-friendly fibre from sweet potato and green beans. If you would like a much hotter curry, sprinkle with organic chilli flakes when serving. I haven't used a pre-made spice mix as I like to avoid anticaking agents, plus it makes it easier to create and adjust the flavour when adding them individually.


* Please click on the green icon next to the ingredients listed below for extra details and helpful information.

  • 2 - 3 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1 med onion(s), finely diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp tamarind puree/paste, (seedless)
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp garam masala, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 tsp chilli powder, powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar (organic), or 1 tsp maple syrup
  • I med - lge (400g) sweet potato(s), small cubes
  • Juice from 1 sml lime(s)
  • 3 cups (750ml) chicken broth/stock, or vegetable stock
  • 400g can coconut cream, (a thick brand like Ayam)
  • 4 star anise
  • 200g green runner beans, trim and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 3/4 - 1 tsp sea salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 500g - 600g skinless fish fillets, cut into 3-4cm pieces (use a firm white fish like Hoki, Basa or Cod)
  • Garnish with fresh coriander, and chilli flakes (optional)


Heat a large saucepan on medium, add half the coconut oil and the onion. Cook the onion for 2 - 3 minutes to soften then add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute.

Spoon in the remaining coconut oil, tamarind, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamon, garam marsala, cloves, chilli and coconut sugar. Stir the spices through the onion mixture for 30 - 40 seconds or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato to the pot and stir to coat well in the onion-spice mixture.

Pour in the lime juice, broth and coconut cream and add the star anise. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered until the sweet potato is just tender approximately 10 - 12 minutes.

Add in the green beans, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

Gently place in the fish pieces and cook for 5 - 6 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Taste your curry and add extra spices if needed.

Serve in individual bowls, garnished with fresh coriander leaves and a sprinkling of chilli flakes if you desire a hotter dish.

coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.


In my recipes when listing onion I am referring to a brown (also called yellow) onion. Onions are members of the allium plant family which also includes garlic, leeks, spring onions and shallots. Onions are valued more for the flavour they impart in cooking than for their nutritional content. Onions are know for their antibacterial effect helping to prevent superficial infections and their sulfur compounds may block carcinogens.


Garlic is a close relative to the onion and has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In most of my recipes I use minced garlic as I find it distributes better throughout the dish. When in a hurry I use organic minced garlic which I purchase in glass jars and store in the fridge. When garlic powder is needed for a particular recipe, I use 'Simply Organic' brand. Why is garlic so good for us? It is an immune booster, antibiotic, good for the heart, cancer fighter and it's also knew as a weight loss aid (appetite suppressant).


Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.

tamarind puree/paste

Tamarind is a bushy tree. The tree produces edible, pod-like fruit, which is used in different cuisines around the world, it is also used in traditional medicine. Tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste. Choose a brand that only contains tamarind and a little water, no sugar. I purchase Ayam brand, it's a seedless puree, read labels to check for any added ingredients. Refrigerate after opening.


Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family, the rhizomes are used fresh or boiled then dried in hot ovens after which they are ground into a deep yellow powder. Turmeric is an essential ingredient of Indian curries and gives mustard its yellow colour. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic and is used to treat inflammation and digestive disorders.


Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.


Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.


Cardamom spice has a strong unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Cardamom comes ground or in whole seeds. It's a common ingredient in Indian, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern dishes, it is used in sweet and savoury baking and drinks. This exotic spiced is know for it's antioxidant, disease preventing health promoting properties. Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium, it is also helpful for digestion. Purchase organic cardamom (I use the Simply Organic brand).

garam masala

Garam masala is an Indian blend of ground and toasted spices. Garam means "hot" and masala is "a mixture of spices". It can be used on its own or mixed with other seasonings. There is no single garam masala recipe, rather the ingredients change according to the region and cook. In Northern India, it will be aromatic and mild, while in the south of Indian the spice mix is hotter (it may include cayenne). Typical ingredients are cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black peppercorns, coriander and nutmeg. I purchase 'Simply Organic' or Frontier Co-Op organic brands, both don't contain any fillers.


Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, recognised all over the world for their medicinal and culinary qualities. Cloves have a strong distinctive sweet flavour, use the whole bud or ground and just a little goes a long way. The spice contains healthy benefiting essential oils and a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Cloves also contain a good amount of vitamins A, K, B6, B-1, C and riboflavin. Purchase organic (I use the Simply Organic brand).

chilli powder

Chilli is the spicy fruit of plants that belong to the capsicum family. It is eaten fresh or dried. Chilli powder is dried and ground red chilli peppers. They are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Red chillies contain large amounts of vitamin C and are a good source of most B vitamins, they are also very high in potassium, magnesium and iron.

coconut sugar (organic)

Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't overindulge. For a finer texture, add your coconut sugar to the small bowl of a food processor or blender and blend for 8 seconds or until it reaches a fine powder. The colour will lighten once ground.

sweet potato(s)

Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable, naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), on average one medium sweet potato provides more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Also high in vitamin E and potassium. Store in a cool place but not in the fridge.


A lime is a green citrus fruit. There are several species of the lime tree. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium and are used to add flavour to foods and beverages.

chicken broth/stock

Making homemade chicken broth is a great way to heal Leaky Gut and excellent to drink when unwell. Traditionally broth was made just from bones and simmered for hours to remove the gelatin, marrow and goodness from them. These days vegetables are also added to give extra flavour. By using a slow cooker, making your own broth/stock is so easy. As soon as a roast chicken is eaten, all the bones go into the freezer ready for the next batch of broth. If purchasing store-bought stocks, read the labels as many companies have changed the name of MSG to yeast extract. Organic or free-range brands are available. My Chicken broth recipe is on page 295 of The JOYful Table cookbook. Freeze ice block trays filled with chicken broth for when a small amount is required for a recipe. You can also use an organic concentrated bone broth paste or dehydrated chicken bone broth powder and add them to filtered water.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

star anise

The star anise pod is shaped like a star (hence its name), it has an average of eight points and is the fruit of an evergreen tree native to southern China. It has a sweet, aniseed (licorice-like) flavour (though the plants are not related). Star anise is the key ingredient in the popular Chinese spice blend, five-spice powder. I love the fragrant flavour star anise gives to my Curry recipes.

green runner beans

Green runner beans are also know as string beans or green beans. This variety of green beans are mostly plant matter (the pod), with only tiny, immature seeds. They are eaten all around the world and can be purchased fresh, frozen or canned. The fibre content in green beans is very high and because of their rich green colour they provide us with chlorophyll. They are a good source of vitamin K and manganese.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.

fish fillets

There are 32,000 species of fish, I'm referring to white flesh fish here, like: Hoki, Whiting, Barramundi, Herring, Hake, Cod etc. Choose wild caught fish (not farmed). Fish is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids.


Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.