Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crispy Green Curry Fish

I selected this recipe partially with my son Sonny D in mind since he likes fish, but I knew as I was making it that he wouldn't eat the spicy green sauce (he's suspicious of pretty much everything green unless it's grapes or avocado) so I left one of the pieces of fish plain for him to eat and he loved it.  

I must confess that I don't understand why it's called crispy fish when you end up submerging it in the sauce and cooking it for several minutes.  All of your hard work of pan-frying it earlier in the recipe seem pointless since it can't stay crispy after that long of a submersion, but it was a tasty way to make the fish.

I was a bit hesitant to pan fry the fish since it seems like so much oil and I always want to get away with cutting down/out the oil as much as possible, but for this recipe I figured I would try it out.  


The Wanderlust Kitchen crispy tilapia in curry sauce

I buy frozen swai filets at Target instead of tilapia because they're cheaper.  And I used green curry sauce instead of red because that's what I picked up on a recent visit to the Asian market.  But otherwise I don't know enough about curry dishes to modify them much, so this is pretty much followed to a T.  Plus it's a pretty simple set of ingredients even if the cooking method is a little more involved. 

I tasted my green curry sauce since this was my first time using it and I'm glad I did, it was really spicy!  I only used half of the amount.  From my research, apparently green curry paste is made with fresh chiles, which makes it hotter than a red curry paste made from dried chiles.  Ah.  I might need to pick up a jar of red curry as well.


  • 4 swai fillets
  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 (14oz) can light coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons red curry paste (1 Tablespoon green curry paste)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 Tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce (next time I would use only 1 Tablespoon since it was so salty, but that could just be my brand)
  • Jasmine rice for serving


Dry your fish filets off with paper towel and cut into about thirds or quarters, depending on the size of your fish filets and how big you want your chunks.
defrosted fish and flour for dredging.
Blend the flour and black pepper in a shallow bowl (I use a pasta bowl, it's perfect for breading/dredging) and coat both sides of the fish in flour.  Set the dredged fish onto a plate. 
Husband Jeff caught my hands in action, with Sonny D wanting to help with his fork and measuring spoon.
Dredged fish on a plate, waiting to pan-fry.

Heat your oil over medium-high heat and when it's hot, add as much fish as will fit without crowding and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.  You're just browning it right now, you'll finish cooking it later in the sauce.  
First side down into the oil.
Flip the fish and brown the other side for a couple minutes.  When it's done, move it to a plate and finish cooking the rest of the fish in the same manner. 

Second side down, check out that golden-brown goodness!
When all the fish is browned, remove any extra oil from the pan and add a small amount of coconut milk and the curry paste and stir well to ensure all of the paste gets dissolved.  Then add the rest of the coconut milk, water, sugar, and fish sauce.  Stir to fully blend.
Green curry sauce. 
Then add the fish filets and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes. 

Fish boiling away in the curry sauce.
To serve, put some rice on your plate, add a piece of fish on top, and spoon on some sauce. 

fish with curry sauce and brown rice.
I wish I had been cooking this for myself because I would have sauteed a bunch of spinach and mushrooms and added them to the sauce, but Husband Jeff is anti-mushroom.  As it was, I only had spinach, which I sauteed and put on my plate. 
check out the spinach. 


Spicy and different than my normal curries.  

I normally make a vegetarian curry or chicken curry, so I really liked how this was different by using  fish.   I could have actually used more coconut flavor, would be nice to try to incorporate unsweetened flake coconut somehow, maybe cooked into the rice. I've tried cooking rice with coconut milk, but it doesn't really add much flavor. 

The only drawback was this was too salty, I think next time I would reduce the amount of fish sauce to be at least half or even less.
I loved the cooking method of dredging the fish in flour and then pan-frying it.  I'm totally going to do that again for us.  I picked up some walleye at the winter market with that in mind, I can't wait to try it!  Of course that won't end by cooking in sauce, so I'll have to look up how long to cook the fish to ensure it's done.     

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!