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Balinese Fish Curry with potatoes, spring veggies, lime and mint in a fragrant curry sauce. A simple flavorful dinner that is healthy and easy!
This Balinese Fish and Potato Curry was one of my favorite things while visiting Bali last month. Once you have the ingredients in order, it’s surprisingly quick. The flavors that set this dish apart are kefir lime leaves and fresh turmeric root, blended right into the curry paste. As for fish- this is quite flexible. In Bali it was often made with swordfish, here I’ve used Alaskan Cod- but feel free to swap halibut, tilapia, sea bass, back cod or even prawns or scallops. One you have the flavorful base made, it is pretty hard to mess up.
What I love most about Bali are the people. They have a very kind, warm and happy energy that bubbles up from within, and immediately draws you in and welcomes you. You can’t help but feel the same. They are deeply spiritual people, mostly Hindu, and this spirituality, this connection is what seems to keep them grounded and vibrant. Bali is a small Island situated in the primarily Islamic country of Indonesia. I was struck by the peacefulness that exists there among two very different religions. A mutual respect and honoring. It was really special to witness and feel this. It told me, this is really possible.
Our last day in Bali, was a “Silent Day”, a religious holiday where everything basically shut down, even the airports! No one worked, everyone stayed at home and indoors – no one walked outside and all the stores and restaurants were closed and the entertainment (tv) turned off. A day of contemplation. The island was serenely quiet. At night, they turned off the lights. In homes people used candles or very minimal lighting with their shades drawn. In all my life, I have never seen stars quite so bright. A beautiful ending to our time there.
To limit trips the Asian market I often purchase kefir lime leaves in bulk and freeze them, so I always have some on hand to toss into soups, rice or curries. I also stock up on frozen chopped lemongrass and keep it in the freezer for emergencies.
To keep this mild in heat, I used a jalapeño. Fresh turmeric root can be substituted with ground. Shallot is pretty essential here but you can sub half an onion- but the shallot really does bump up the flavor. Slice every thing up thinly ( to prevent a stringy texture) and place in the food processor. Blend in to a paste.
Heat coconut oil in a skillet and sear the fragrant paste until cooked and golden.
Add water and steam the potatoes.
Once the potatoes are steamed, add the coconut milk, fish sauce, salt and lime. Adjust heat, adding sambal oelek ( chili paste) or chili flakes.
The best firm white fish for soups or stews:
You generally want to use firm white fish for most stews and soups, because they will hold their shape and not disintegrate in the liquid. Here are 10 the best fish (and seafood) to use in soups and stews.
- sea bass
- black cod
- red snapper
Cut the fish into larger pieces and gently slip them into the curry and simmer for about 5 minutes.
At the tail end of cooking the fish, adding something fresh and seasonal. Here I’ve add fresh spring peas, but feel free to add snap peas, asparagus, chopped green beans or greens- anything that will cook in about minute.
Then serve over rice or whole grains.
Garnish with fresh mint, a lime wedge and crispy shallots.
Balinese Fish and Potato Curry, called Kari Ikan is vibrant and flavorful and full of healthy ingredients. It will take you to a warm and sunny place. I promise.
Balinese Fish and Potato Curry (Kari Ikan)
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 3-4 1x
- Category: main, seafood, fish,
- Method: stove-top
- Cuisine: Balinese
A fragrant Balinese Fish and Potato Curry with authentic and vibrant flavor! Serve over rice or whole grains.
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger ( skin OK)
- 1 shallot rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric – thinly sliced – skin OK( or sub 2 teaspoons ground)
- 2 x 5 inch stocks lemongrass, thinly sliced into disks
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno ( this will be mild)
- 5 kefir lime leaves
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups water
- 8–10 ounces baby potatoes cut in half
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 lime- juice
- sambal oelek, or chili paste or chili flakes for additional heat
- 10 –12 ounces while fish- (alaskan cod, black cod, tilapia, halibut, sword fish, shrimp, scallops)
- 1 cup peas, snap peas, green beans, bok choy or bell pepper ( veggies that can cook in 1-2 minutes)
- Garnish with lime wedge, crispy shallots ( available at asian markets) , fresh mint, basil, scallions or cilantro
- Serve over rice or whole grain ( it’s nice to toss a couple kefir lime leaves in with the cooking rice for a beautiful aroma)
Set the rice or grain to cook.
Place the thinly sliced ginger, lemongrass, shallot and turmeric in the food processor. Add the jalapeño, garlic, and lime leaves. Pulse until it becomes a paste, scraping down sides if necessary.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. When hot, add fragrant paste and stir constantly until it browns lightly, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups water, give a stir, bring to a boil. Add potatoes, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove the lid, and reduce the liquid just a little, letting it simmer uncovered for a few minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, fish sauce and the juice from one small lime. Taste. Remember this will go over rice, so the flavors will mellow. Add chili paste or flakes for more heat.
Place the fish into the coconut sauce and simmer gently for 5 more minutes. Toss in the spring peas, snap peas or green beans and cook for just a minute or two, keeping them vibrant and snappy.
Serve over rice with a lime wedge, crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, cilantro or scallions.
Kefir Lime leaves and Crispy shallots can be found at Asian markets. The fragrant leaves are often found in the freezer section – I always buy extra and freeze. You can also find frozen chopped lemongrass, which can be very handy to have on hand.
- Serving Size:
- Saturated Fat:
- Trans Fat:
Keywords: fish curry, curried fish recipes, fish curry recipes, balinese fish curry, potato curry, balinese recipes, recipes from bali
Loved this recipe! Can’t wait to make it again. Could not get my hands on decent lemongrass or lime leaves, but found a good Thai curry paste that contained both. Will make it again when I can find them both. Thanks for the tip on freezing some ingredients when I do find them. Added lime zest and some coconut milk fat to the rice. Yum!!
Glad you enjoyed this!
Couldn’t find kefir lime leaves or fresh turmeric (in Chinatown New York LOL ) maybe not the season, however I put a lil more lemongrass, turmeric powder and damn that’s one of the best meal I ate
Made this for dinner tonight with peas + sea bass and oh my goodness was it delish!!!
Glad you enjoyed this Kim!
Awesome! I will make this again.
I used catfish chunks as the fish, and maybe three small potatoes.
Also used ground turmeric and lemongrass as I didn’t have whole.
I did add an additional amount of lime juice and fish sauce (doubling the suggested amount) during the reduction phase, as it seemed a little milder than I hoped.
Absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to make it again.
And the suggestion of using a few kefir lime leaves to boil with the rice was brilliant! (as well as including them in the paste).
thanks so much Dan!
This was so light and full of flavor. I used bok choy for greens. I forgot to garnish with mint and crispy shallots. It was wonderful anyway. The cod fell apart so I probably overcooked it but it didn’t matter. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe.
Thanks Anne, glad you liked it!
I had been meaning to try this recipe for a while and finally got round to it. So glad I did. It was easy to make and absolutely delicious ❤️
Made it today and it was amazing! Super tasty
Really beautiful dish. We’ve had it twice now and love it. I used lemon zest instead of the lemongrass and lime zest instead of the kefir leaves. (We are a bit remote so these ingredients can be hard to come by.) It was still amazing.
Awesome! Glad you liked this! 🙌
I always ordering pizza to mine near Sam’s Pizza And Subs restaurant and I don’t have any of these ingredients at home. Could you rewrite this based on the food I do have in my house? I’m not going to tell you what food I have. You have to guess.
Haha! I think I love you. 🙂
Great dish wonderful flavours but easy to put together. The only change I made was to up the heat factor by including lots of chillies in the paste. I also use half coconut water and half coconut cream to lighten things up from a calorie perspective. Will definitely make again, thank you for the wonderful recipes
thanks Anne, Im so happy you liked it!
“WOW! WOW!” was what i kept hearing all night as everyone ate it!! Every recipe of yours is a new experience, and i always fell myself thinking “thats the best thing I’ve ever had.” My husband and i are crazy for curry and this was better than our favorite restaurant. The paste was so easy to make and you inspired me to go exploring at an asian market and make friends with the workers and i learned so much! Thanks again!
Awww I love this Jessika! Thank you for sharing, Im so glad you liked it and went to the Asian market!
Delicious and flavorful. Family loved it and it will make a great dish to serve to company. Very saucy, I probably will and extra veggies to it next time
The taste of this recipe is exceptional. Thank you !
This was the best thing I’ve ever made! I was searching for a way to make fish with potatoes and thankfully I stumbled across your recipe — this dish truly was a revelation! The only change I made was to wilt spinach in at the end instead of the peas/bok choy. Thank you for your site! I feel you’ve really demystified how to make a great curry, as it really is quite easy to whip up the homemade curry paste and throw it all together.
Hi Danny, I’m so glad you enjoyed this!!! I love it too! Yes curry paste from scratch is not as hard as you think! Yay! So happy you tried it. xoxo
My local grocery is not well-stocked, by they do carry the Thai Kitchen brand. I believe their green curry paste has most of the flavors listed at the beginning of your recipe. How many tablespoons of the curry paste could I use to sub for the fresh kefir lime leaves and lemongrass stalks? Thanks!
Im not sure, start conservatively and add more to taste.
Ohh yess.. Eating this one in the beach would be unreal… I love kari ikan
i’ve never tried balinese curry, but i love thai curry, which sounds similiar to this with the creamy coconut milk and vibrant color! and all those herbs sound so fresh on top of this (:
What a beautiful dish! I love all things curry and seafood, and that bowl looks like the perfect meal! Now I’m itching for a trip to Bali…I’ll have to cook up this dish to tide me over in the meantime! 😉