Quick Coconut Curry with Halibut & Broccoli

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 15, 2010 at 7:39am

I posted this recipe a few weeks ago at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine. I know it’s a crazy-busy time of year, which makes it nice to have a quick, nourishing recipe to turn to for a satisfying dinner. Plus: I don’t know about you, but spicy food tastes extra delicious when it’s zero degrees outside!  It’s nice to be warm on the inside, if no way outside (of hell).

Here’s a flash from the past: Do you remember the coconut pasta at Sidney’s restaurants, circa 1995? It was the first coconut-milk dish I’d ever tried and it was tasty, if inauthentic. It got me happily experimenting at home and concluding that coconut milk has magical properties. Creamy, luscious, and ridiculously easy to cook with, it can transform a head of broccoli into the most heavenly thing you’ve eaten in months. And what it does to a filet of halibut should be illegal. Seriously.

Yes, you could pick up a Thai-style curry anytime you like from any number of places around town. But you can also pull this delicious little number together in about 20 minutes, with minimal prep, and it will be loaded with as many bites of fish and vegetables as your heart desires.

I’ve pared this recipe down to the essentials, with a few shortcuts that make it accessible for a weeknight din. You can adapt this basic recipe in as many ways as you can imagine – try shrimp, chicken, or tofu for the halibut. Experiment with a rainbow of vegetables. All good.

Quick Coconut Curry with Halibut & Broccoli
Serves 4

1 can coconut milk (not the light version – Taste of Thai brand works well)
1 large, ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, cut into matchstick pieces
1 1/2 Tbsp. green Thai curry paste (available in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores)
1 tsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce (or more to taste)
2 c. broccoli florets
12 oz. halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes
juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)
3 whole scallions, chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Hot cooked rice (jasmine rice is delicious, but any rice works)

Open can of coconut milk with a can opener and skim the thick, white coconut fat off the top and put into a Dutch oven. Heat pan over medium-high heat until coconut oil is melted and hot, then stir in tomato, garlic, and red pepper until softened and tomato is breaking down a bit, about 4 minutes. Stir in curry paste and curry powder and saute for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Stir in the remaining coconut milk, brown sugar, and fish sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add broccoli florets and simmer for 2 minutes, until just softening, then stir in halibut cubes. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until fish is just cooked through. Add lime juice, scallions, and fresh basil and taste. Add a bit more fish sauce (for saltiness), lime juice, or brown sugar as needed. Serve over hot rice.

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Older Comments

  1. By manda2177 on December 16, 2010 at 7:42AM

    You totally made me snort out loud while reading this.

  2. By FreshTartSteph on December 15, 2010 at 5:08PM

    Mmm, shrimp & spinach sounds fab. Yes, love that once you possess the curry paste, fish sauce, & coconut milk, it's a breeze to whip up a little something with whatever is in the fridge. Love that.

  3. By Amy (Minimally Invasive) on December 15, 2010 at 8:41AM

    I fully agree -- coconut milk is a gift from the gods! It really makes just about anything better. I made something similar to this last night, with shrimp and spinach. So easy, so delicious.