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Tomato and Coconut Tuna Curry

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Everyone I serve this gorgeous curry to adores it. I've yet to find someone who doesn't. The tomato and coconut sauce for this curry is absolutely divine. I make it ahead if possible to allow the flavours to develop, and it can be frozen. It is great for a buffet or dinner party as the sauce can be made ahead and the tuna added right at the end.

It is important to cook this long and slow to allow the coconut to thoroughly infuse into the sauce and allow the tomatoes to release their sweetness. Undercook and the tomatoes will have that raw, watery flavour.

Don't be tempted to use tinned or carton chopped tomatoes as this will make the sauce too tomato-y and intense and have a slightly 'bitter' taste. Fresh tomatoes give this a clean flavour but I always use organic vine tomatoes, so they have had the chance to ripen properly on the vine (not be ripened artificially) and therefore have a slightly higher natural sugar content. If your tomatoes are not summer-fragrant, then add a little organic tomato puree to concentrate the flavour, but be judicious. Part of the beauty of this curry is its freshness.

On an anti-Cansur protocol, tuna must not be consumed more than once a month due to the high mercury and other heavy metals in the flesh of slow growing meaty fish, such as tuna and swordfish. As such, this is a special occasion fish, and this curry makes your tuna into a marvellous feast for a king or queen. Far better to enjoy your tuna this way than out of a can.

I serve this with a quick coconut sambol - another recipe for another day. If you can, try to get fresh curry leaves rather than dried. The dried are lacking in flavour but fresh curry leaves will zing your curry with delicious Sri Lankan flavours. I get fresh curry leaves from a supplier on eBay and they usually take a couple of days to arrive in the post after ordering. Freeze what leaves you don't use, but they will lose flavour over time. Fresh is definitely best.


6 - 8 persons

4 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp black mustard seeds

5 cloves garlic

2 inch piece of ginger, finely diced or grated

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp date syrup

juice of one lime

1 - 2 tsp red chilli flakes (to taste)

2 large onions

2 x 1 tbs coconut oil

800 g peeled and chopped organic tomatoes

400 ml coconut milk

100 g coconut cream

6 thick slices tuna

20 curry leaves, dried or fresh (if possible)

turmeric and salt for dusting the tuna

chopped coriander or micro coriander for garnish

** 1 cup Healing Intent

1. Toast the cumin, coriander, black mustard seeds and turmeric powder until the seeds begin to pop. Tip immediately into a pestle and mortar and lightly grind.

2. Melt 1 tbs coconut oil and add the spices, garlic, ginger, onion, chilli and salt and lightly fry until the onion is translucent. Do not brown.

3. Add the tomatoes, curry leaves, coconut milk, coconut cream and reduce heat and simmer over a low light until the oil begins to separate out of the sauce.

4. Add the date syrup and lime juice to taste and adjust seasoning.

5. Cut the tuna into large bite size pieces and dust with turmeric and salt and leave for five minutes. Heat a frying pan with remaining coconut oil and lightly fry on both sides for no more than 3 minutes. When cooked tip the fish and juices into the curry sauce.

6. Warm the tuna in the sauce for about 3 - 5 minutes and pour into a serving dish and scatter with coriander. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, coconut sambol and a green vegetable curry.


** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.

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