Cooking the Invasive Lionfish: Lionfish Coconut Curry

Lionfish are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Atlantic coast of the US and in the Mediterannean – basically, anywhere that lionfish can be found outside of the Indo-Pacific. Their invasion poses huge problems for reef fish populations, since lionfish can eat basically any fish that is smaller than it. To combat this issue, local governments in the US are promoting the fishing (via spearfishing) of lionfish as well as the fish’s consumption.

The good news is that lionfish is a delicious, versatile and cheap fish! So it makes a great option to turn to when cooking. The main thing to watch out for when cooking lionfish is to make sure you cut off the spines right so that you don’t get poked and suffer the consequences of the lionfish’s painful venom! To prevent any unpleasant surprises, make sure you have a unit of StingMaster handy so that if you do get poked, you can slap on some StingMaster and keep cooking like nothing ever happened. 

To promote the cooking and eating of lionfish, we will be posting one recipe a week on our blog page to give ideas to our community as to what you can do with lionfish once you catch them! If you have a favourite recipe, be sure to send it to stephanie@pterotech.ca so we can feature you and your recipe!

Since lionfish is a pretty robust fish, it holds up really well in cooked stews and curries. This lionfish coconut curry is the perfect winter recipe to stay cozy and keep using your lionfish filets! Here is a great recipe (with some edits) from Grace foods (https://www.gracekennedybelize.com/recipe/lion-fish-coconut-curry/). So get inspired and get cooking! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Lionfish filets
  • 4 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 tablespoons spicy curry powder or red curry paste
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk 
  • 2.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2.5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Heat up a frying pan and add 2 of the teaspoons of coconut oil.
  2. Add the diced onions, green peppers and zucchini, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the can of coconut milk and continue stirring. 
  4. Add the curry powder while stirring and continue cooking for 5 minutes with occasional stirring.
  5. In the meantime, season the lionfish filets with the garlic powder, black pepper and salt.
  6. In a separate pan, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, once melted, add the seasoned lionfish filets until done and slightly browned.
  7. Add cooked lionfish to the curry, coconut milk and vegetable pan and continue cooking on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve over white rice and enjoy!

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