Michele Cranston’s Spicy Fish Stew

A perfect balance of earthy and tropical flavours

When it comes to published foodies, Michele Cranston is somewhat of a modest achiever. With a career in food styling spanning 20 years and 11 cookbooks to her name, she has well and truly earned her cooking cred, but she tends to let the food do the talking.

We took a moment to delve into Michele’s latest book, A Simple Table, and it wasn’t long before we’d found a new weeknight staple…


Michele-Cranston-A-Simple-Table-Fish-Stew-editPhoto courtesy of Michele Cranston


Michele says… For this spicy fish stew I’ve chosen to serve the coconut cream on the side rather than cooking it into the dish, as I find the coconut cream can diffuse the flavours a little. I love the richness of this stew, and the peppery flavours work so beautifully with the fish. So, spoon the coconut cream over the stew after you’ve served it and enjoy both tropical and earthy flavours in the one mouthful.


Spicy Fish Stew

Serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 leek, white part only, rinsed and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes

800g (1 lb 12 oz) tinned diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 green capsicum (pepper), cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes

100g (31/2 oz/1/2 cup) jasmine rice

800g (1 lb 12 oz) firm, white-fleshed fish, cut into chunks

1 handful coriander (cilantro) sprigs

1 lime, quartered

160ml (51/4 fl oz) coconut cream


Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and add the cumin, turmeric, white pepper, leek and garlic. Stir until the spices are fragrant and the leek is soft and golden.

Add the chilli, fresh and tinned tomatoes, brown sugar, capsicum, rice and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the fish, then cover the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.

Divide the fish stew among four warmed bowls. Scatter with coriander sprigs and serve with the lime wedges. Serve the coconut cream on the side, to drizzle over the top.

This is an excerpt from Michele Cranston’s
A Simple Table, available here.

A Simple Table CVR-1


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