Shelina Permalloo’s tilapia and aubergine coconut curry

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes 40 minutes

Serves: 6


1 onion, roughly chopped

6 garlic cloves

40g fresh root ginger, roughly chopped

3-4 tbsp coconut oil

500g tilapia fillets (or other firm white fish), skinned, boned and cut into 5cm pieces

1 large aubergine, cut into 5cm pieces

handful dried curry leaves

2 Thai chillies, split lengthways

1 tbsp medium madras curry powder

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tomatoes, chopped into cubes

200ml reduced-fat coconut milk

300ml fish or vegetable stock

large handful coriander, chopped


1 Purée the onion in the small bowl of a food processor or mini chopper and set aside. Purée the garlic and ginger with a splash of water; set aside.

2 Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a large frying pan and fry the fish until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Remove, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

3 Fry the aubergine for 4-5 minutes, until golden on all sides (in batches if needed, adding more oil as you go). Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

4 Add the onion purée to the pan (and a small amount of oil if the pan is dry) and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to dry out. Add the garlic-ginger paste, curry leaves and chillies and cook for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.

5 Add the dry spices and tomatoes and cook, stirring. As soon as it starts to dry out, add the coconut milk, a little at a time. Once it has all been added, pour in the stock, a little at a time. This slow process is essential as it allows the spices to become fragrant and cook without burning. Season, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

6 Return the fish and aubergine to the curry and take off the heat, allowing the residual heat of the pan to warm everything through. Garnish with the chopped coriander, and a drizzle more coconut milk, if liked. Finish with a little more chopped chilli – if you like it hot!