Sometime I make recipes on this blog for you, sometimes I make recipes on this blog for me .... so I can remember my favorite meals that I randomly threw together and worked really well. One night recently, Michael and I didn't have a lot of time to cook, but wanted something home-cooked, healthy, and spicy. We picked up a piece of fish, went home and sliced up some leeks, jalapeños, garlic, and tomatoes, sautéed them and then added some coconut milk along with the fish which I quickly marinated in some lime, and 10 minutes later we were sipping on a super tasty, spicy, brothy, fish stew that was so flavorful and so satisfying. It immediately became my new favorite meal.
In order for a meal to become my favorite, it has to check off a few different boxes. It needs to have a fancy factor, meaning it would be great enough to serve at a dinner party. It has to be easy. It has to be made in under 30-40 minutes. It has to use only a few ingredients, most of which are veggies or pantry staples. And last but never least, it has to be healthy. This meal checks off all those boxes and then some ..... because it is super flexible. You can mix up the veggies for what is seasonal, and it can also be made vegan by switching out fish for cauliflower.
I've made this recipe a handful of times since that night, including one night where I cooked it for 14 people (when I had an impromptu dinner party with nothing prepared). This meal was a savior that night. I've also made it for just myself on a quiet monday night. It's that kind of recipe that can easily be doubled, tripled .... or made just for one. But I recommend making it for two (you and your lover or bestie) and eating it alfresco with a candle, a bottle of wine, and some easy conversation.
spicy coconut lime fish stew
I give the option of using full-fat or light coconut milk here. The light will make the broth lighter, but will have less of a coconut flavor. If you want a strong coconut favor, go for the full-fat. It's the good kind of fat for your anyway ;) Feel free to sub cauliflower for the fish if you want to make this vegan, I would use 1 head of cauliflower and cook it for 15 minutes instead of 10 (until the cauliflower is fork tender). Enjoy!
SERVES // 2
2 / 6-8oz pieces of monkfish (or any study, local whitefish)
1 lime, juiced
1 large (or 2 small) leeks, sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
a pinch or two of cayenne (optional)
1 can of coconut milk (full fat, or light)
*rice, quinoa, or cauliflower "rice" for serving
optional garnishes: microgreens, some herbs such as cilantro or basil
Chop and marinate the fish:
- Cut the fish filets into 1" cubes. Place in a non-reactive bowl with the lime juice. Set aside in the fridge until you're ready to add it to the stew.
** If you're making rice or quinoa, this would be a good time to get it started.
Sauté the veggies / prepare the stew:
- In a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat, add some olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom) then add the leeks and jalapeño. Statue for a few minutes until they are soft (but be careful not to brown). Then add the garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes. Lastly, add the tomatoes, and season with salt.
- Add in the fish with the lime juice, the coconut milk, and add some water (the same amount as the coconut milk, so you can just fill up the empty coconut milk can). Give it a stir, and taste to see if you want to add more spice (cayenne). Add a little at a time until you get the spiciness you want.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
Assemble + serve:
- Ladle the stew into bowls, and add in the rice or quinoa (if using). Finish with some herbs and micrograms.
- If serving this on a hot summer day, you can let the stew cool down a little. It's find (and delish) to serve at room temperature, and also is good leftover the next day.