Keto Seafood Korma – An Indian Coconut Fish Curry
Keto seafood korma is a creamy coconut shrimp and whitefish curry, topped with crispy flakes of toasted coconut and lime juice. This keto fish curry is full of authentic flavours and is dead simple to make.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Seafood korma is an authentic keto fish curry based on an old family recipe
- This curry is simple and straightforward but boasts big, bold. flavours
- The recipe is very keto friendly with less than 9g of net carbs per serving
- This korma is a one pot recipe that is ready in about 60 minutes, perfect for any day of the week.
- Caramelized coconut milk makes one hell of a gravy!
What You Need to Know
The Coconut Korma gravy
This gravy starts the same as all my Indian chicken curry. Onions, garlic, and ginger, frying in hot oil until they begin to brown, then water fried with spices until everything breaks down into a smooth paste.
What is water frying?
A water fry is when you add small amounts of water to the pot and let the water cook off completely before you add more.
Adding the water small amounts at a time prevents the temperature from dropping but breaks down the onions and spices into a smooth paste which is ideal for starting curries.
You don’t want to drown the pan and steam everything, just small amounts at a time.
How to use water frying to start a curry
Finely chop the onions, garlic, and ginger into small pieces to help them break down quicker.
As the onions begin to brown, add the spices and combine well, cook the spices for around 1 minute to remove bitterness and enhance the flavours. Do not let them burn.
To begin the water fry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the pot with the onions and spices. Fry until the water evaporates, and repeat the process many times.
Eventually the onions, and spices will start to form a smooth paste. This paste is your curry starter and is the best way to make an authentic curry of any kind.
Caramelize the Coconut Milk for a Deeper, More Flavourful Gravy
When the coconut milk is added it starts out as a thin white liquid. As coconut milk cooks it turns from a creamy white to slightly brown colour which will deepen as you cook.
This is the caramelization of the coconut and it adds a, nutty, coconut flavour to the gravy.
You want that because it’s delish.
How to caramelize coconut milk
After the coconut milk is added, bring the gravy to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the colour starts the change. The longer you simmer the thicker and more intense the gravy will be.
Using a thick, full fat coconut milk will create a thicker, more flavourful gravy.
I like when I open up the can and the top layer of the can is rich coconut cream.
Prevent the yogurt from breaking
Yogurt is a staple in creamy curries like this one, but adding yogurt to a hot pot can result in the yogurt breaking and changing the gravy (still delish though).
To help prevent this, mix the yogurt with a couple tablespoons of coconut flour (ground coconut) before adding it to the pot.
This is a popular technique in desi cooking and is often used in curries like rezala, korma, and even my keto butter chicken except with yogurt and ground almonds instead of coconut.
Choosing the whitefish
Almost any whitefish can be used to make a keto fish curry like seafood korma.
I generally prefer a hearty, full bodied whitefish like haddock, Boston bluefish, Basa, cod, or halibut.
More delicate fish like sole or pollock can be used in curry but it will not hold its shape as well and can flake apart and feel mushy in the gravy.
While normally I opt for fresh filets of fish. This korma is perfect for frozen fish. Simply thaw frozen fish slightly so it’s still partially frozen, this makes it much easier to cut it into bite sized chunks.
Choosing the Shrimp
I usually use frozen, jumbo shrimp or prawns for this recipe.
Shelled and deveined raw frozen shrimp from the grocer are a real time saver.
Gently cooking the seafood to avoid overcooking
Unlike a chicken or beef curry, where the meat spends a lot of time simmering the gravy to become tender, fish and shrimp are already very tender but can become tough and chewy if cooked too long.
To avoid this, the seafood is added to the korma towards the end to avoid overcooking.
After the gravy is near complete, add the chunks of fish and shrimp and lightly toss the pot to coat everything in the gravy. Bring to a gently simmer over medium-low heat, and cover for 8-10 minutes until the seafood is just cooked through. The fish should be slightly opaque throughout and the shrimp will become white and turn an orangey-pink in some places.
Both the fish and the shrimp can be added fresh or slightly frozen, cooking times may need to be adjusted.
As the chef it’s your right to taste as you go so if you are unsure, slice open a shrimp and see if it’s done, it cooks fast!
Toasted coconut for topping
Making your own toasted coconut topping is super simple, and it adds so much needed texture and crunch to this dish.
Make sure to use unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet about ¼ “ [ 7 cm] thick and salt liberally.
Bake in 375F [190C] for around 8-10 minutes, or until they turn a light golden brown.
Keep an eye on these and check them frequently. They can over cook in seconds and will still brown slightly once removed from the oven so be diligent!
You can make these in a very large batch and store them in a sealed container or bag in the cupboard for future use.
How to Make Coconut Seafood Korma
Keto Seafood Korma
- Knife and Cutting Board
- deep frying pan, pot or wok with a lid
- baking tray
- can opener
- 3 tablespoons butter/oil/ghee for frying
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon (about 1") fresh ginger finely chopped
- 2 whole green chilies
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 4 whole cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ cup water for water frying
- 1 can coconut milk full fat
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour ground coconut
- 2 tablespoons butter/ghee
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp/prawns shelled, thawed, and deveined
- 1 pound whitefish (bluefish, cod, grouper, haddock, basa, halibut, etc.)
- 1 whole lime juiced
- toasted coconut flakes garnish
- fresh cilantro garnish
- Chop, onions, garlic, and ginger, into fine, thin slices.
- Heat, butter/oil/ghee in a deep frying pan, pot, or wok, Once the oil has heated, add the onions, garlic, ginger, and whole chilies. Season with salt, and fry stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until the onions begin to brown. Add oil as needed to prevent burning.
- Make a well to expose the bottom of the pot and add, garam masala, cardamom pods, whole cloves, and coriander powder. Stir to combine and cook the spices for around 1 minute to toast. Don't let them burn.
- Add the water to the pan 2 tablespoons as a time, stir and fry everything until the water has evaporated. Once evaporated add another 2 tablespoons of water and water fry again. Repeat the water frying until the onions and spices have formed a smooth paste.
- Add a full (13.5 oz) can of full fat coconut milk to the pot and turn the temperature down to maintain a steady simmer. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the milk has caramelized into a browner colour. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- In a small bowl, mix together plain yogurt and coconut flour. Stir yogurt mixture into the pot and lower temperature to a gentle simmer.
- Add butter, raw whitefish, and cleaned shrimp, stir to coat in the gravy and cover with a lid, the steam helps cook the fish. Simmer over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until shrimp and fish are just cooked through.
- Remove from heat and squeeze in the juice of one lime, serve garnished with fresh cilantro, chopped chilies, and toasted coconut flakes.
Toasted Coconut Flakes
- Preheat oven to 375F [190C].
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and layout flaked shredded unsweetened coconut about 1/4 [7mm] inch thick. Salt liberally.
- Bake for around 5-8 minutes until they start to turn a light brown colour. Keep an eye on them, it happens fast!
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How to Make Keto Seafood Korma
This low carb seafood korma recipe is very similar to my family Fish korma recipe. Like other curries, both pair very well with cauliflower rice or a bhaji such as my keto cauliflower bhaji, or my low carb celeriac bhaji recipe.
If you have a preferred keto flatbread, naan, or paratha recipe, that would also pair nicely. If you don’t have one and would like one let me know in the comments below and Ill get working on a keto naan recipe!
5 Tips to Master This Curry
- Take your time building the gravy, it’s the most important step and should not be rushed if you want a rich flavourful keto seafood korma
- As always, cook the spices! This is essential for evenly distributing the flavours and removing any bitterness, you don’t want the taste of raw spices in your gravy.
- Caramelize the coconut milk until it’s at least a pale brown colour. This will give the gravy a nutty toasted coconut flavour
- Mix the yogurt with some coconut flour or ground coconut before adding it to the hot pot to avoid breaking the gravy.
- Gently cook the seafood over medium-low heat until just cooked to avoid chewy shrimp or fish.