Coconut Fish Curry with Charred Chiles & Lime

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  • 2 jalapeños, seeds and membranes removed (for more heat, only remove from 1 jalapeño)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped (use bottom 5 inches)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems (save the leaves)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried turmeric or 1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric
  • 5 lime leaves, grind 1 for use in the curry paste, reserve the rest whole (or substitute with the zest from 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon high-heat oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 pound halibut, cut into chunks
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


  • 1 teaspoon high-heat oil
  • 4 Fresno or jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, rinds removed and roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste


Put jalapeños, lemongrass, shallots, cilantro stems, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, salt, turmeric and ground lime leaf or zest from 1 lime in a food processor. Blend to create a curry paste, using up to 1/4 cup stock or water to help achieve a smooth puree. Blend well, at least 3 minutes.

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add curry paste and fry the paste for 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, remaining lime leaves or zest and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Add halibut and turn the heat off. Let the residual heat gently cook the fish. After 5 minutes it will be ready to serve. Top with sesame seeds.

For the topping

Heat oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry chiles and onions until caramelized. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro, lime pieces and salt. Place a spoonful on top of each serving.

To serve

Serve this dish with rice and sautéed greens.

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