Mahimahi Coconut Curry Stew with Carrots and Fennel


Padma Lakshmi always makes extra portions of this excellent coconut-curried mahimahi so she can reheat it the next day and eat it over noodles, like laksa.

Mahimahi Coconut Curry Stew with Carrots and Fennel
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins


  • Eight 6-ounce skinless mahimahi fillets

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

  • Salt

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)

  • 8 small dried red chiles

  • 12 fresh curry leaves (see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 8 makrut lime leaves (see Note)

  • 1 large fennel bulb—halved, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)

  • 4 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

  • Two 15-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Put the mahimahi fillets in a large, shallow dish. Pour the lemon juice over the fish and season lightly with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  2. In a very large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the garlic cloves and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles and curry leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and lime leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fennel, carrots and curry powder and season lightly with salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes longer.

  3. Add the mahimahi and any accumulated juices to the casserole, nestling the fish into the stew. Cover and simmer over low heat, shifting the fish a few times, until it is just cooked, about 15 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a large, deep platter. Pour the sauce over and around the fish. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Make Ahead

The coconut-curry broth can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours.


Fresh curry leaves are small, shiny, bright green, and fragrant. Makrut lime is a citrus fruit with dark green leaves that are very floral and citrusy-smelling.

Suggested Pairing

Aromatic, spicy curries like this one tend to overwhelm most white wines, but good Gewürztraminer from Alsace is just as fragrant, and its luscious texture is delicious with the lush coconut milk here.

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