Sunday, May 12, 2019

Kerala Fish Stew with Lime and Curry Leaves (and Potatoes & Peas) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I stopped by Whole Foods the other night to drop something off to my friend and we ended up shopping together. Since I knew I would be making an Indian dish this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs, I checked the local produce aisle to see if they had any fresh curry leaves and ended up with a large bag. Luckily, Natalie took some from me because, although they can be dried or frozen, they are always better fresh.

I looked to Madhur Jaffrey for a soup recipe that used curry leaves but ended up going with a Kerala Fish Stew with Lime and Curry Leaves from Nigel Slater. I liked the combination of the cardamom, lime and curry leaves. I did make a couple of changes, adding some small potatoes and frozen peas (I have been craving samosas I guess!) and adding more broth and coconut milk to make it soupier. I used two kinds of local fish, kajiki and shutome--both mild, firm white fish that held up well. 

Nigel Slater says, “Curry leaves, coriander, coconut, tamarind and limes. These are the tart, cooling flavours you expect further east, yet a Keralan fish stew may be scented with them all. The fish in the market is good enough, the usual Indian blue-grey pomfret, giant eel and the area's famous prawns - after all we are not far from the sea - but we can do better. Down by the sea, past the fishing boats at Cochin, you can also buy it from the boats down by the harbour in Cochin.

Kerala Fish Stew
Slightly adapted from Nigel Slater via
(Feeds 4 to 6)

750g (about 1.5 lbs) mixed fish, such as haddock, mullet (I used local kajiki {blue marlin} and shutome (broadbill swordfish)
a little turmeric
juice of a lime
3 Tbsp of coconut, vegetable or groundnut oil
an onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 large, or 6 small green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
a piece of ginger as big as your thumb, peeled and finely grated
6 green cardamoms
20 fresh curry leaves

(I added about 1 lb small yellow potatoes, sliced)
(I added 2 cups light veggie stock)
(I added 1 cup frozen peas, thawed)
400ml tin (15 oz can)  coconut milk (I used 2 cans)
rice to serve

Rinse the fish, taking care to remove any loose scales or bones. Pat it dry with kitchen paper, put it in a shallow dish and dust with a couple of pinches of turmeric and the same of salt. Squeeze over the lime juice and set aside for half an hour or so.

Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan, adding the onion as it warms. Cook over a low to moderate heat until the onion is soft, stirring from time to time, then add the chillies, garlic and ginger, continuing till all has softened.

Break open the cardamom pods, crush the seeds slightly, and add them to the onion mixture with the curry leaves. Stir in the coconut milk and an equal amount of water. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, making sure it does not boil. (It will curdle if it does.)

Cut the fish into large, meaty chunks then slide them into the sauce. Let it cook gently, barely bubbling, until tender and easily parted from its skin or bone. This will take about 4 or 5 minutes depending on the thickness and variety of your fish. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice or salt as you wish.

Notes/Results: I really love this soup, the curry and cardamon give it an exotic flavor--not curry, but fragrant and aromatic, while the lime, chilies and coconut give it an almost Thai vibe. I used three large jalapenos and seeded, it was just spicy enough for me without overpowering the dish. I forgot to make rice, so served it with a microwave lime-coconut rice.I will happily make this again.

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs for Cuisine Spotlight: Indian!

Let's take a look in the in the Souper Sundays kitchen.

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared this Quick Salad, inspired by By Invitation Only by Dorthea Benton Frank. She says, "Being the only cook in the family, Shelby brings “two bags of prewashed romaine lettuce to make a salad, with cherry tomatoes and a container of mini-mozzarella balls in water” (176). On the following page, she describes her recipe. ... This salad, however, was a great light Sunday lunch for us. I paired it with some balsamic-butter toasted pretzel buns. (More about that butter later—I’m still perfecting it.)"

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared her Kitchen Clean Out Salad, saying "This salad is from scavenging in the fridge.  Best soups and salads come out from those forages. Here I used butter lettuce, some baby spinach, cucumber, chopped yellow bell pepper, grape tomatoes and a bit of rotisserie chicken. This was hauled off to lunch as I am still dragging myself in for a bit longer. While I enjoy lunch I prop up my Kindle and read. The life of a Government Drone."

Thanks to Debra and Tina for joining in this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. We both had lime in our ingredient list! Love a fish stew, that's probably one of my favorites. I wanted to hook up with you before we went camping because I doubt I can this upcoming week.

  2. Cardamom in a savory dish has me intrigued. Linking up again this week!

  3. Shopping with friends is so much fun, we always end up trying new things and sharing.This looks absolutely crave-worthy, Deb! Love the big chunks of white fish swimming in that hearty stew. Yum!


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)