goan coconut fish curry

In Goa, a state along India’s southwestern coast, seafood and coconut are staples. Goan fish curry is a traditional dish that captures the coastal flavours offering an authentic taste of regional cuisine.

Recipe and photos by Hetal Bulsara

True to its origin, this Goan coconut fish curry beautifully combines flaky fish with the rich, creamy texture of coconut milk. Alongside aromatic flavours like garlic, ginger, onions, cumin and black pepper, this curry is creamy and bursting with flavour. It also uses the tang of tamarind and the sweet, nutty flavour of shredded coconut, offering an all around treat to the senses.

Looking for some of the unique ingredients in Calgary for this recipe? Find tamarind paste at The Silk Road Spice Merchant, Lucky Supermarket or T & T Supermarket. Coconut butter can be found at Light Cellar.

Goan Coconut Fish Curry

To make this recipe vegan, replace the cream with coconut milk and replace the fish with mushrooms and sautéed tofu or peas and pre-boiled potatoes. Serve this dish with rice, naan and a green salad.


Gravy Mixture

  • 1-3 Kashmiri or any dried chili peppers (depending on your spice level tolerance)
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp salt


  • 3 tbsp coconut butter or regular butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 3/4 cup whole canned tomatoes, pureed in a blender
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 lb cod, or other white fish, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup half and half cream, more if needed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey


  • Purée the gravy mixture ingredients in a blender until there are no gritty bits left.
  • Add the coconut butter to a pan on medium heat. Once it has melted, add the onions and ginger. Sauté until slightly golden brown, stirring often, around 10-12 minutes.
  • Pour in the puréed tomatoes and sizzle further until the oil separates from the tomatoes (around 5-6 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the gravy mixture and cover with a lid. Continue cooking for an additional 12 minutes, stir occasionally.
  • Add in the mushrooms, fish, cream, water and brown sugar. Stir and simmer until the fish is thoroughly cooked (around 5 minutes). You can add water ¼ cup at a time if you prefer a saucier curry.
  • Taste, and add more salt if needed.