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Sea Monster & Coconut Curry Fish

June 21, 2011

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(Sea Monster on the side of the bucket.)

DH enjoys keeping fish. In ponds outside, in aquariums in the house. He likes fish. I even found a box of fish flash cards from when he was a kid. Yes, I married a nerd.

Having moved all the goldfish out of the in-house 30-gallon aquarium, the Sea Monster was swimming solo inside since March. DH was having to change water filters almost daily. The stench was becoming noticeable to visitors, unbearable to me. He began his planning weeks ago, waiting for time to clear the space & the temperature to cooperate.

Sea Monster was purchased when DH re-established his in-house aquariums about 7 years ago. He purchased tiny feeder goldfish from WalMart (they don’t sell them anymore) & added 2 South American Catfish to keep the aquarium scoured. The first summer, he built a small pond in the backyard then moved all the fish out for the summer. When October came & the temperatures were beginning to dip into the 50’s at night, he went looking for his prettiest goldfish to keep inside along with the 2 catfish, who, being tropical, would not survive the winter outside. Problem – the catfish were essentially black as was the bottom of the pool. He couldn’t find them. Removing all the plants, removing some goldfish, removing the pump – it took 3 days to find 1. Using the largest net he had, DH chased down Sea Monster, who had doubled in size, & deposited him in the aquarium inside. His fins on one side were smaller than the other from the way he stayed on the side shelf of the outside pond. But he was scary-looking, the kind of thing one has nightmares about before going scuba diving for the first time. DH never found #2 catfish.

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Afraid that Sea Monster would disappear, DH never took him outside again for the summer. He has lived in the aquarium all this time, growing, growing, along with well-fed goldfish…until now!

Woo Hoo! Last evening Sea Monster was moved to an aquarium on the screened deck! But not without some drama! Sea Monster doesn’t like anyone messing with the aquarium water – he splashes & prowls when DH cleans the dirty thing! When the net was slipped into the water last evening, Sea Monster splashed & jumped. DH yelled, afraid he was going to get finned. #1 Son announced that the splashed water made it all the way into the kitchen where he was putting his dinner plate into the dishwasher. It took about 15 minutes to finally catch sea monster & gently place him in a bucket of water with a bubbler submerged.

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With the help of #1 Son, DH relocated the aquarium, scrubbed it down nicely, refilled it with clean water. This morning, the temperature of the fresh aquarium water had reached the proper temperature & the drama began again. You would think that catching a fish in a relatively small bucket would be simple – not so when dealing with Sea Monster! He jumps & swims & splashes & acts like the terror of the sea that he is. Finally captured in the net, he was moved to his new abode. Hurrah! No more stinky fish smell in the house!

Coconut Curry Fish


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1 small Red Onion, sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried Basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 can Coconut Milk, divided
  • 1 pound mild, white Fish Fillets (tilapia, cod)


  1. Heat oil in large skillet.
  2. Add fennel seed, onion slices & cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, tomatoes, spices & 1/2 cup coconut milk; Bring to simmer; cook 6 – 7 minutes.
  4. Put fish in sauce & reduce heat to medium-low; cook 3 minutes.
  5. Turn fish over; Add remaining coconut milk, stirring sauce gently.
  6. Bring to simmer – fish is done when opaque.

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