Think, Eat, Be Healthy

Coconut Curry Grouper Cheeks & Mushrooms

Coconut curry grouper cheeks

Coconut curry grouper cheeks with mushrooms takes advantage of very economical and delicious fish in a dish filled with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

About coconut curry grouper cheeks and mushrooms recipe

Coconut curry grouper cheeks uses an economical source of complete protein. I like to take advantage of as many local foods as possible. In the Tampa Bay area of Florida, grouper cheeks are often available fresh in the local stores for less than half the price of grouper filets or steaks. They are cleaned and ready to use as-is and can be used in any number of recipes calling for fish. Grouper cheeks are a fantastic way to save money on high-quality seafood for whole food health.

Grouper cheeks

Grouper cheeks are an economical local seafood ingredient in Florida. In more northern areas, halibut cheeks or something similar could be substituted.

This recipe uses turmeric paste made from fresh turmeric root, but powdered turmeric will also work just fine. This curry is also a good way to use up any leftover red and green chile sauces that might be in the refrigerator or just use fresh or dried chile peppers instead. The turmeric, chile, red bell pepper, onion and garlic all add a potent dose of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds to this dish.

All of the cooking is done in one pan to simplify both preparation and clean-up. The grouper cheeks are added to the pan right at the end and lightly simmered in the sauce until just cooked through to keep them moist, tender and flavorful. Serve coconut curry grouper cheeks with mushrooms right out of the pan.

 basil and tomato

Fresh picked basil and tomato add flavor to coconut curry grouper cheeks.

Ingredients for coconut curry grouper cheeks

1 pound grouper cheeks                                                                      1/3-1/4 pound mushrooms of your choice, mixed is fine

1/2 cup rec bell pepper, 1/4-inch diced                                            1/4 cup yellow onion, 1/4-inch diced

1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, 1/4-inch diced                                      2/3 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, fine diced                                                   2 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt                                                                           1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garam masala spice mix                                              2 tablespoons turmeric paste or 1 tablespoon powder

2 tablespoons red chile sauce                                                             2 tablespoons roasted or fresh green chile pepper

1 small tomato, 1/2-inch diced                                                           1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

grouper cheeks

The grouper cheeks are the last ingredient added to this one-pan recipe to prevent over-cooking(they get tough and dry).

Preparation for this recipe

1. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy skillet or pan over medium heat.

2. Add the mushrooms, both bell peppers, onion, garlic, salt, black pepper and garam masala to the hot oil and cook, stirring often with a spatula, until the vegetables are tender and the mushrooms are starting to brown on the edges.

3. Add the turmeric, red chile, green chile, coconut milk, tomato and basil. Mix well and allow to cook until the tomato softens and the sauce is slightly thickened. Add a little more coconut milk or water if the sauce is too thick.

4. Add the grouper cheeks and gently work them down into the sauce. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Turn the grouper cheeks a few times and remove from the heat when the grouper cheeks are just cooked through.

Coconut curry grouper cheeks

Coconut curry grouper cheeks with mushrooms is a versatile entree. Here it is served with mustard potato salad, beans & collard greens and baba ganoush.

Notes on coconut curry grouper cheeks

When using fresh red and/or green chile peppers, add them during step 2. with the rest of the raw vegetables. More coconut milk or a little water will probably be needed at step 3. when using fresh chiles instead of chile sauce.

Turmeric paste can easily be made from fresh turmeric root by peeling the roots and using a food processor or spice grinder to make a smooth paste. Turmeric stains plastic horribly and it will probably take several scrubbings with detergent to get all of the yellow color off food processor parts. If you get fresh turmeric on clothing, you are totally on your own.

This is a fairly mild curry recipe to allow the flavors of the grouper cheeks and mushrooms to come through. If you like spicy curries, try substituting fresh or dried Thai chile or habanero for the red chile and/or use jalapeno for the green chile. A little fresh thyme or fresh mint makes a good addition to this recipe. Peanuts or cashews are also quite good if nut allergies are not a problem.

For more recipes using grouper cheeks, click here and here.

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