laurie’s curried fish chowder soup recipe

Is it a soup? Is it a chowder? It’s both!

Curried fish chowder

Curried fish chowder, or is it soup?

Although my holiday in Sri Lanka was 3 years ago, I think about it every day. I really miss the food, and frequently try to reproduce it. After I made this dish, my addictive curried fish chowder, I asked my husband if he was getting sick of having coconut milk and curry in virtually everything I make these days. Nope! What a silly question.

A few notes on the recipe:

  1. I measured the ingredients, for the most part, using the ‘eyeball it’ method. We Freehafers are people who like a full, robust, slightly eye-watering seasoning level. I tend to return to my in-process dish many times to adjust (dump more) spices.
  2. I may be a bit heavy-handed on the salt. It’s my favorite seasoning. Yes, I have added salt to salted potato chips.
  3. Some day, I’d love to be able to take food blog-quality photos of perfectly diced potatoes on a cutting board, vegetables– glossy and bubbly in a rustic wok, and the finished product artfully steaming in a clean white dish. But I don’t know how.
  4. Don’t be as alarmed as I was if you get a foamy, white topping on your soup as it cooks. When I saw it I immediately tried scooping it all up in ladle, but I tasted it and to my relief, found it was just coconut milk trying to escape. I poured it back in and it all became incorporated before the soup was served.
  5. I am extremely blessed to have freshly-ground Sri Lankan curry powder (condiment powder) for my curried fish chowder. Any not-too-old curry powder will make a slightly inferior, but still fulfilling, soup. In my totally non-Sri Lankan-centric opinion, that is.

Curried fish chowder

Makes maybe 6 servings, maybe more.

— In a large pot, cook this bunch in oil until soft:

1 medium onion-chopped

2 large cloves garlic-chopped

2 celery stalks -chopped

¾ cup carrots – chopped (these won’t get totally soft)

Add these, and bring to a low boil/high simmer. If the bubble level gets scary, lower the heat:

2 large potatoes– diced  [note: more spuds, thicker chowder.]

1 box can or jar (quart) vegetable or fish broth

1 can of coconut milk (unsweetened; lite or regular)

1 cup or more fresh or frozen corn

1½ pounds firm fish: salmon, cod, haddock, or a mix, in substantial chomp-sized chunks. [note: more fishies, thicker chowder.]

Cook for minimum of 15 minutes. Add the following seasonings:

A healthy pile of curry powder (start with a heaping tablespoon)

A hillock of cayenne powder (start with at least ¼ teaspoon)

¾ tsp kosher salt

A spirited amount–several grinds–of black, red and/or white peppercorns.

Cook, stirring now and then (doesn’t that go without saying?), until you’re ready to enjoy.

Curried Fish Chowder


Bon Appetit !