Have an aromatic and very easily put together Sri Lankan fish curry with green rice any day of the week with this recipe using quality frozen fish. Don’t eat fish? This is also superb with tempeh.
Fish on a Monday? Really? Is this wise?
Like going out to eat on a Monday, eating fish on a Monday is one of those things that food-savvy folk don’t tend to do. Certainly in the UK. As the boats don’t go out on Sundays, proper fish shops are shut the following day. Of course supermarkets will sell you fish, especially in finger-slitting vacuum packs (do you struggle with these too?), but fresh fish with plump eyes and shiny scales will not be found unless you catch it yourself.
You can however have the next best thing (and sometimes it is the best thing) if you open your freezer.
Frozen fish can be a byword for mushy fish, but if treated right frozen is as good as what you can get fresh Tuesday through Saturday. Pinky promise. 🙂
Are you still nervous of frozen fish? Don’t be. A few simple pointers can save you from the horrors of chewy cod and baby food bass.
- Use it in the right recipe. Frozen fish isn’t going to suit every recipe, but where it does suit, it can hold up even better than fresh; for instance, this Sri Lankan Fish Curry. When I use fresh fish I have to be very careful when cooking it that the fish doesn’t fall to bits (i.e. babyfood). But with frozen fillets, it really does stay as a whole fillet unless disturbed by a greedy spoon whilst cooking.
- If you crave crisp skin, fresh is always going to win.
- Actually cook from frozen. Be bold! Does it work well when you defrost first? Didn’t think so. Rinse off any ice crystals from your frozen fish with cold water, pat dry and use as you would fresh, but generally adding a bit more time.
- For sauteed fish, your best bet is to brush the patted-dry fish with a little oil, add it to a hottish pan – skin side up – and cook, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes. Flip the fish and season, then add a lid and continue cooking on a slightly lower heat for 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
- If you want to roast the fish, oil it and lay on a crumpled foil-lined tray. The crumpling lets the circulating air of a fan oven get underneath and allows the water to come out and away from the fish. Cook until done – depends on thickness, but you shouldn’t need to flip it. Add the seasoning/marinade after the first five minutes of cooking.
- Quality frozen fish – like my red snapper from Iceland Foods – will not hold much water, so there is less risk of a soggy, insipid result. The results of my numerous experiments with Iceland frozen fish have been uniformly excellent. Anyone who has had their fish lately will know that it doesn’t taste at all frozen. Just of the lovely fish! I have done a fish pie as well as Creole fish, and I have to say that both turned out just as I had hoped: exactly like I always make them.
- Use less liquid. For this curry, I cut out the coconut milk and replaced it with coconut powder, and only 100ml of vegetable stock. Use your best judgment, but generally at about two-thirds the liquid for a sauce is a good idea
- If you want to know about other ways to cook frozen fish, wildalaskaseafood.com has a great guide.
If you have been reading Food To Glow the past wee while you will know that I have been working with Iceland Foods. I have tried various trendy vegetables (artichoke hearts! rainbow carrots! kale!), sweet potato burgers, prepared frozen grain mixes, herbs, staples like onions (a freezer must!) and garlic, and this past week it has been fish. I really wasn’t expecting to see the likes of sea bass and red snapper. As with the past recipes, using their frozen fish has been an eye opener (I think I may have used this phrase in every post so far!). It was not a compromise on taste or quality, despite it being quite a bit less expensive than fresh.
I was also very pleased that their red snapper is wild caught. This isn’t the case for all of their fish, so do check the label if these things matter to you. I hope it is the start of a wider move to more ethically sourced fish.
So, fish on a Monday? Absolutely. And Tuesday, and Wednesday… 😉
Sri Lankan-style Fish Curry with Green Rice
Have an aromatic and very easily put together creamy Sri Lankan fish curry with green rice any day of the week with this recipe using quality frozen fish. Don’t eat fish? This is also superb with tempeh (se below for advice). The green rice, using frozen spinach and herbs, is also good leftover for breakfast with a poached egg.
This recipe is easily increased, but you want to keep the fish in a single layer and perhaps add a bit more cooking time.
Red snapper doesn’t have a high Omega 3 content, so if you want more of this anti-inflammatory nutrient, try salmon or sea bass. Here is a great ranking of Omega 3 in fish from seafish.org. xx
2 frozen red snapper fillets or similar sturdy fish, any ice rinsed off and the fillets patted dry
1 tbsp best quality rapeseed oil or groundnut oil
1oog chopped frozen or fresh onion (1 small onion)
2 tbsp chopped frozen or fresh garlic
1 tbsp mustard seeds (black, if you have a choice)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek powder – optional but very very good
1 fresh or frozen green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (one more will make it hotter, of course)
1 tsp ground turmeric
10 or so fresh or dried curry leaves (dried found in the global food section of supermarkets and fresh and dried in Asian markets)
70g coconut milk powder (available in the global foods section of most supermarkets and at Asian supermarkets – very useful stuff)
2 tbsp tamarind pulp or paste (available as above) – optional but very good
200ml light vegetable stock
Handful of flavoursome cherry tomatoes, halved
Lime wedges (especially important if not using tamarind)
1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Get out a medium-sized heavy ceramic, lidded dish or a Pyrex dish – something that will accommodate the frozen fish fillets.
2. Heat a wok or saute pan over a low-medium flame, add the oil. When hot add the onion and saute until most of the water evaporates; add the garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek powder, green chilli, curry leaves and turmeric. Let this cook for a further two minutes, then stir in the coconut powder and tamarind pulp, followed by the stock.
3. Put the rinsed and dried fish into the dish and pour over the curry sauce. Add in the halved tomatoes. Put in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the rice, if having.
4. Serve with lime wedges, green rice and steamed fresh vegetables.
Vegan variation: use tempeh in place of the fish, cutting this uber-nutritious, Japanese soy product into planks or cubes as you wish. Follow the recipe as is.
This vegetable packed baked rice is a perfect, herbal accompaniment to many savoury, protein-based dishes. But most especially fish.
1 tbsp best rapeseed or groundnut oil
50g chopped frozen or fresh onions
150g brown basmati and wild rice mix OR brown basmati rice
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp each frozen or fresh finely chopped parsley and coriander (replace the parsley with basil if liked)
3 cubes of frozen spinach OR 3 good handsful of fresh spinach
1 tsp whole cloves
A few good grinds of black pepper
275 ml boiling water
1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy-lidded, oven-proof pot. Add the onions and cook until the moisture is mostly gone. Add the rice, salt, herbs, spinach, cloves, pepper and cook – stirring – for three minutes. Add the boiling water. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and pop in the oven.
3. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Serve hot.
Other #PowerofFrozen recipes on Food To Glow: Moroccan Kale, Rainbow Carrot and Hummus Tart + Zesty Quinoa, Bean & Artichoke Salad
Other Fish & Seafood Recipes from my fellow #PowerofFrozen food bloggers:
Grilled Seabass with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce & Colcannon
BBQ Sardines with Wild Garlic Salsa & Couscous Salad
15-Minute Thai Red Prawn Curry
**With grateful thanks to Stoke-on-Trent Potteries-based 1882 Ltd for the gorgeous blue and white ceramic bowls. Aren’t they just beautiful?**
Iceland has commissioned me to develop healthy and exciting recipes for their #PowerofFrozen campaign. As always, all thoughts, opinions and recommendations are honestly given.
30 thoughts on “Sri Lankan-style Fish Curry with Green Rice + Tips on Using Frozen Fish”
I just became hungry looking at the pics!
I never knew you should cook your fish frozen–that’s so interesting! Because sea bass is SO expensive where they sell it in my areas, we generally have more salmon or cod during the week. It’s a great way to add some omega-3s and protein into our diets through the healthiest forms of animal protein possible! Anyways, this recipe looks absolutely amazing, and the green rice looks so fragrant and fluffy!
This looks fantastic!! The green rice is a great vacation too!!
Oh wow. This looks so good! I loved the green rice with all the spices and spinach .)
excellent information. I have always believed that frozen fish is a better alternative to stale fish – of which there is far too much, everywhere. And it ought to be less wasteful. The amount of fresh fish that is thrown away because it is too stale to sell must be quite horrifying. I wish we caught less and froze more, husbanding our resources with greater care and using energy where it solves a problem rather than simply creating more.
I will be making this recipe soon. It looks so wonderful. I especially love your additions of fenugreek and tamarind. I usually buy frozen salmon because other than lake fish, “fresh” fish here is still pre-frozen for shipping. So I don’t see a difference and am glad you to see you promoting the benefits of frozen fish.
This was a fabulous recipe, Kellie. We really enjoyed the flavors and I personally loved the simplicity of putting frozen fish directly in the pan. I used coconut milk instead of powder and semi-dried cherry tomatoes instead of fresh. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Will make this one again for sure!
Love this recipe and all those handy pointers about frozen fish. Thanks!!
Oh my Kellie, fish curry is my favourite type of curry and I think I would be in heaven if I ate this, it looks insanely good! Iceland really do have brilliant basic ingrediietns with which to make wonderful tasty meals! Thanks for linking to my dish:-)
I made this for supper earlier (using fresh cod) and it was delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe and all the handy hints on using frozen fish 🙂 I must try it again with the red snapper.
So chuffed you made it – and so quickly after my post! Thanks for letting me know! I really do recommend the frozen red snapper. I couldn’t afford it if fresh so it is a real treat. 🙂
Oh, that looks amazing! I often use frozen fish in my cooking and I’m very tempted to try this recipe. We love fish curries in this house! 🙂
A beautiful recipe. We always buy frozen fish (from Aldi actually as there isn’t an Iceland near us!! (Sorry Iceland!!)) And in curries I do also always use from frozen. My husband actually freaked out when I did this the first time but as you say you just need to allow a little ore cooking time. Where is my nearest Iceland anyway? I had no idea they had such a big range. Hmmm just looked it up. Closest one is in Kingsbury where I do my bulk buying of spices. Result! I’ll pop in there next time I’m up.
I’m loving the green rice! I reckon I could make a delicious vegetarian version of your fish dish, the sauce sounds fabulous!
Hi Chris. I mention tempeh as a veggie alternative. 😊😊
Love curries, love fish, love the colour yellow, this is for me!
The curry looks very appetising! I would love to try that, plus I’m a huge fan of fish so pinning this to try hopefully on the weekend!
AS always, so vibrant in flavour and colour. Just mentioned a salad to KP for tonight and he turned his nose up. Might have to change tack!
Just made this with some hake I had in the freezer–much better result than defrosting first, so thanks for that tip. Excellent recipe, will definitely make again.
Thanks so much Deb for the fab feedback. You don’t know how much it thrills me to know when someone has tried and likes one of my recipes. Yay! 🙂
Oh damn this looks so yummy! I use frozen prawns but must admit to being a trifle scared of using fillets of fish after some bad experiences years ago – you have given me the push to investigate further 🙂
This is a great way to use frozen fish. I must admit I haven’t bought any for ages, though I used to! Silly really Iceland is actually about 100m from my house (SE London heh?). A curry looks like the perfect way to use it up!
Really, really yummy a big hit in our house with the boys asking “lovely but we want a bigger portion next time” the green rice was fab too. Great to have lots of frozen ingredients on hand (that are not fish fingers!)
Thanks so much for the fab feedback. If boys want more, I take that as a good sign. 🙂
What would the world be without fish?! Looks delicious!