Beginner Thai: White Fish with Thai Curry Sauce

For a long time, I was intimidated by the thought of cooking Thai food at home.

Finding that ideal balance of salty, spicy, mild, and sweet flavors (typical of Thai cuisine) seemed like a recipe for disaster for someone who didn’t grow up around/wasn’t trained in Thai cooking.

But I kept hearing about all the significant health benefits of the various spices found in curry powder, so I decided to roll the dice and give it a shot.

I started by combining lots of easy-to-find ingredients: white fish, tons of veggies, coconut milk, and curry powder.

And the final result: success!

It turned out absolutely delicious and flavorful. And it’s so easy to prepare.  Basically fool-proof.

I thought the dish was delicious, but I was still kind of nervous to serve it to my Meat-and-Potatoes-Midwestern-Guy (my husband Chris).  He surprised me by loving it as much as I do!

Are you ready to dive in and try it?  Let’s get started…

Here are the key ingredients.  Clearly a super-healthy dish.

I used cod for my dish (not pictured).  But any whitefish (i.e. haddock, halibut, etc.) works.

Begin by mincing some garlic and dicing an onion.

Grab a red bell pepper and set it upright on your cutting board.

Make four cuts, from top to bottom, around the stem.  This creates four perfect slices of pepper, leaving out the seeds and stem.

Grab one of the quarters and cut thin strips lengthwise.

Now dice up the pepper by slicing in the opposite direction.

Shred two small carrots (or buy the shredded kind to save yourself some time).

Now toss all of the veggies into a casserole dish.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Add a couple of tablespoons of canola oil.

Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Next up: the curry powder.

Curry powders will have different blends of spices depending upon the brand, but most contain cumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and red pepper.  This is a blend of spices with tons of antioxidant power!

Curry powder (specifically, the turmeric found in curry powder) is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory shown to help keep skin clear, firm, and youthful.  It’s also been shown to block several different types of cancer, including breast and skin cancer. And it’s been shown to protect memory and prevent Alzheimer’s.

This stuff is over-the-top good for you!

And buying prepared curry powder means you only need to add one spice to get tons of flavor.

Add the curry powder and mix everything together.

Strain some chopped tomatoes and add to the dish.

Can I just add: I love Pomi tomatoes!  I like the flavor of these tomatoes and tomatoes are the only ingredient (no additives or preservatives!)

Plus, it comes in a container that is BPA-free.  (Here is a quick guide to understanding BPA in canned food)

I try to keep sane about BPA by not letting it stop me from buying healthy canned items (see the coconut milk in my ingredients photo above!) but choosing better alternatives (ie. glass containers, cardboard cartons, frozen items over canned) when they’re available.

Next, add some coconut milk.

Stir everything together.

Cut the fish into four even portions.  (You see only three here because I used less fish than the recipe calls for).

Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle about a teaspoon of canola oil over the fish.  Add a pinch of curry powder to the fish as well.

Nestle the fish into the veggies.  When everything’s snug and cozy, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or so.

While it’s baking, prep the basil.

Grab several basil leaves and pile them one on top of the next.

Roll them up lengthwise.

Now chop thin strips of the basil.

Unravel to reveal the lovely ribbons of basil you’ve created (look at you, an old pro in the kitchen)!

Remove from the oven and transfer the fish, veggies and sauce to serving plates.  Top each with fresh basil.

The colors and presentation of this dish are gorgeous.

The sauce is a vivid burnt orange.   Combined with the red pepper and basil, it looks beautiful on the plate.

Or at least it can look beautiful.  After I shot these photos, I proceeded to heap each portion with tons of sauce and veggies, and Chris and I dug in.  No longer photo-worthy, but so delicious!

It’s slightly sweet from the coconut milk.

Slightly spicy from the curry.

There is a delicious crunch from the red bell pepper.

And a hint of freshness from the basil.

Really healthy can be really delicious!

Here is the complete recipe:

White Fish with Thai Curry Sauce

Total Time:  45 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings 

2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 red bell pepper
2 small carrots
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup chopped tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 pounds cod (or other white fish such as haddock or halibut)
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper




Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


Mince the garlic and place in a large casserole dish.  Dice the onion and the bell pepper and add to the casserole dish.  Grate the carrots and add the shredded carrots to the dish.  Add the canola oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add the curry powder and the lemon juice. Stir to combine ingredients.  Add the coconut milk and drained tomatoes and stir again to combine.  Cut fish fillets into four equal portions.  Arrange fish over vegetables.  Drizzle canola oil over the fish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle a pinch of curry powder over fish.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until fish is no longer transparent and cooked through. Transfer fish fillets to serving plates and top generously with vegetables and sauce.  Top each plate with plenty of fresh basil and serve.



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  1. March 20, 2012 / 4:52 am

    Mmmmm Thai food is so good! Have you ever tried making pad thai? I love pad thai and green curry! As always, the fish looks so good 🙂

    • March 21, 2012 / 2:38 am

      You know, I’ve never really cared for pad thai. But green curry … I will have to get that recipe from you! 🙂

      • March 21, 2012 / 4:01 am

        LOL I wish I knew how to make it 😛 I eat them in restaurants haha I was hoping that you would have made it before 😉 But I will try one and if it’s good I’ll definitely share!

      • March 21, 2012 / 9:06 pm

        Too funny! Well, if you ever decide to post a recipe, I’ll be the first to try it out 🙂

  2. March 20, 2012 / 7:16 am

    Thanks … an other file object – for me … lonely diner. Canola oil is that the same a rapeseed oil????. Something some our regional buses are running on here in our county and the nearly the only oil I use in my cooking. Not very fond of olive oil – like normal olive oil, but not all this extra virgin stuff – the flavor fare too strong. Lovely photo’s again. So clear and colorful.

    • March 21, 2012 / 2:36 am

      Yes, I believe they are the same. Canola is low in saturated fat and has a lot of omega-3’s.

  3. March 20, 2012 / 10:35 am

    Lovely recipe but thanks for the info on BPA’s…I had never thought about it being used in cans as well as plastics…definitely something to think about.

    • March 21, 2012 / 2:32 am

      Yes, it’s good just to be aware of it and keep it in mind so you can choose other alternatives when they’re available 🙂

  4. March 20, 2012 / 11:33 am

    This sounds delicious! We have also been reading about the health benefits of spices, especially tumeric. Thanks for a nice, beginner recipe!

  5. March 20, 2012 / 3:48 pm

    I love a hint of curry flavor in chicken casserole but didn’t realize it was so good for you. I will definitely have to try this with white fish which I love. Thanks.

  6. March 20, 2012 / 4:37 pm

    The photo shows a restaurant quality dish that from the ingredients, sound delightful. I just may make it myself!

      • March 21, 2012 / 11:56 am

        I did make it last night… It tasted very nice, well balanced flavors, the only issue I had was that in 25 minutes, the onion was still practically raw. The next time I think I would probably saute the onion and garlic prior to assembling in the cassarole dish. But I did really like the coconut and curry flavor combination!

      • March 21, 2012 / 9:05 pm

        So flattered you decided to try it. And so sorry about the onions – I don’t know why I’ve never had that problem with this dish. Thanks for the suggestion and thanks for your feedback! 🙂

  7. March 21, 2012 / 6:33 pm

    Mmm fish and thai food are two of my favorite things and you combined them! I’m going to have to give this recipe a try! Yum!

  8. March 22, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    Fantastic recipe…and simple enough to try (for a non-cook like me). My husband works the fish station and he loves to do fish with curry for his specials…and it almost always sells out! You plated it so beautifully, too.

    • March 23, 2012 / 2:24 pm

      P.S. Thanks for following my blog! I’m looking forward to reading more of your delicious blog, too 🙂

  9. March 22, 2012 / 5:24 pm

    Another of your recipes I’m going to have to try! We’ve been loving Thai food recently, but this will be our first experiment using white fish in it.

  10. March 24, 2012 / 11:53 pm

    This looks like a light and flavorful dish. Thai is definitely one of my favorite cuisines! It’s intimidating at first, but gets more fun as you try to make more of it at home.

  11. April 9, 2012 / 4:35 am

    Your recipes are so creative. Keep up the good work!

  12. October 26, 2012 / 4:51 pm

    That looks delicious! Aesthetically, it’s very pleasing to look at and just the right amount to satisfy the body and the mind. Great pics too!

  13. November 7, 2012 / 3:09 am

    I am so excited to try this dish tonight! I’m a baby blogger just starting up and i hope one day my blog looks as amazing as yours!! Your my inspiration 🙂

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