Thai Style Halibut – My Favourite Fish Curry

While thinking about this recipe, I got to consider my storyline. It should be an easy one to write. Halibut is my favourite fish and right now, I am having a great time with many of the Thai flavours that bring out the very best in fish. With very little thinking done, I hit upon “curry favour”. I could easily bend that around to “favourite curry” and have a play on words. This would be easy.

Easy that is until I did my research. The origins of currying favour is in fact French and has nothing to do with cookery. It involves wiping down a horse. This really put me off and I decided to just get straight into the recipe. Straight is a relative word as you will have guessed by now. Here’s my Thai Style Halibut Curry.

Back to my old ways. Two missing ingredients!

Ingredients in the picture

  • 600gms fresh halibut
  • 200gms spinach
  • 1 handful coriander
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 red chilis
  • 2 limes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • A few curry leaves
  • 5cm (2″) of galangal
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients not in the picture

  • 400ml of coconut milk
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce

I was in a bit of a hurry getting my photography together. As a result, I neglected to add a couple of ingredients. This probably is a bigger issue in my head than in yours but, I thought I should try to curry a bit of favour by mentioning it.

Getting on with the recipe, the first thing to do is to make a paste out of the galangal, chilli, garlic, lemongrass, salt pepper, and fish sauce. To do this, peel and chop the lemongrass, garlic and galangal, chop the chillis. Put the lot into a blender or mortar along with the fish sauce and coriander. Fry off the cumin seeds in a dry pan. Add these to the blender/mortar (I was in a hurry, so the blender won out).

There is a mass of flavour in here.

Blitz the lot of it to a paste. Fry it off in a high sided wide saucepan.

When the paste has developed a nice consistency and flavours are really rising, add the turmeric and paprika. Combine this into the paste and then add the coconut milk and the curry leafs.

There are all qualities of coconut milk. Spend the money and buy good stuff.

Let this mixture cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes. Then add the spinach leafs. This will take a bit of attention as they have a lot of volume and need to wilt. Add them a few at a time.

This would be delicious as it is. However, adding the fish makes difference.

Keep the heat on low. Cube the halibut and add it to the curry sauce. The fish is delicate and will poach nicely in the sauce.

This is my favourite photo from this recipe. I love halibut.

Place a lid on the pan and let the fish gently poach for about ten minutes. Slice up some more coriander and sprinkle it over the dish. When the fish has turned opaque rather than translucent, it’s cooked. See the difference between the two pictures above and below.

This is the cooked one. The one above is not (Just to be sure).

Serve it with white rice or potatoes, if you wish. This is a delightful curry that I hope will find favour. I can’t do any more to flavour the curry and curry your favour.

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Latest comments
  • We’ll forgive you the missing ingredients because you’ve clearly spent some time arranging the rest nicely, with interesting pops of colour here and there. I can get all the ingredients here pretty easily barring the halibut, and I think red emperor might make a satisfactory alternative. When I get back from my trip, I might just give it a go!

  • What time is dinner at😁😁😁😁😁😁

  • OMG. This is just my favorite type of meal!!!!

  • This is just fabulous. I can smell it!

  • I love it. I love your blog and comments. Thanks!!!

  • Looks delicious, Conor. A big thumbs-up.

  • That looks so delicious, and I too love Halibut so this is going on next weekend’s menu. Thanks!!

  • This looks amazing — with and without the Halibut. (And there’s no shame in using the blender over the mortar and pestle!) Unfortunately for me, Halibut has become so danged expensive that it is currently reserved for very special occasions — and I want to eat this curry sooner than that! 😉 Thinking about using a different fish or even some shrimp and seeing how that goes.

    • You’re going about it the wrong way. Having the halibut *is* the special occasion 😀

  • Am really looking forwards to trying your recipe which so delightfully nods to Thailand and then wanders across both its Northern and Southern borders for extra interest . . . especially towards Malaysia where such fish curries, so easy to make, are off part of the day ! Had a laugh about the word ‘curry’ . . . watched one of our best known quiz shows last night when this came up . . . what kind of brush did one use to groom a horse with four choices given . . . would you believe not one contestant got it right . . . well, I felt terribly old-fashioned and outmoded and wished I had been there trying to win a million 🙂 ! . . . . Oh, halibut . . . like Kate may have to use another denizen from the sea nut am certain it will taste great . . .

  • Last Thursday I was in our local fishmonger near the ferry port of Poole in Dorset, where we are lucky enough to get live lobsters and crabs, mussels, cockles and diver scallops, and there on the ice was a beautiful whole, fresh, North Atlantic halibut. I was the first customer to have steaks cut from it. But to be honest, I would only ever cook this supreme fish in the simplest way, and never put it in a curry. For those needing to find an alternative fish, I think the firm flesh of monkfish tails would work well. The curry sauce itself looks delicious.

  • Homemade fresh curry paste is the best! This looks delicious. Some suggestions to try for a next batch:
    – adding shallots to the curry paste
    – replacing coriander leaves with coriander roots (if you can’t buy a bunch with roots at an Asian store, I suppose you could buy coriander in a pot and rinse off the dirt)
    – turning off the heat and poaching the fish even more gently — then take out the fish, bring the sauce to a boil, and spoon over the fish to serve it hot
    – adding fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar to taste at the end until the perfect balance of salt, sweet, and sour is reached
    – garnish with very thin strips (chiffonade) of lime leaves
    – cooking the curry paste in the thick coconut cream that floats on top of the coconut milk if you don’t shake the can first (heat until it ‘breaks’ first)

  • Quietly standing on the sidelines . . . from the far away AustralASIA I see ;Asian fusion’ and ‘European Asian’ . . . the ingredients and methodology may not always equate one to the other . . . just say’in . . . . . .

  • Your family is very spoilt with your cooking…

  • Splendid as always…Cheers!

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