Tangy Goan Fish Curry

Fish cooked in spicy coconut sauce

santhosh_varghese/Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
620 Calories
23g Fat
51g Carbs
58g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 620
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 136mg 45%
Sodium 726mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Protein 58g
Calcium 184mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Goa, the smallest state in India, is prized for its beaches, but it's not just sand and surf that draws tourists from the world around. Goa's food scene is thriving, so much so that its regional Indian food is segmented as Goan. Owing to its coastal orientation on the Arabian Sea, Goan cuisine consists of rice, seafood, coconut, vegetables, meat, pork and local spices which make for fragrant dishes with deep flavors. This Goan Fish Curry recipe is a staple food usually eaten with rice and naan like traditional Indian food.


  • 2 pounds (or about 1 kilogram, fish cleaned and cut into pieces: kingfish, monkfish, halibut or tuna)
  • 1 1/2 inch lump of tamarind (lump tamarind can be found in Indian food specialty stores)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 1 large tomato (sliced)
  • 7 to 8 dry red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
  • Hot water for gravy (approximately 2 cups)
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Soak the tamarind in 1/2 a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Now mash the tamarind with your fingers to mix it well into the water. Strain through a sieve to extract all the pulp. Keep pulp aside.

  2. Put the onion, tomato, coconut, ginger, garlic, dry red chilies, all the spices, and the tamarind pureé into your food processor and grind well to make a smooth paste (masala).

  3. Heat a deep pan on medium flame, then add the oil.

  4. Add the green chilies and masala paste you just ground to the oil and fry for 5 minutes.

  5. Now add the 2 cups of water (add more water if you would like more gravy) and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the flame to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.

  6. Gently add the pieces of fish to the gravy and cook for 10 more minutes. Do not cover the pan at any time during the cooking process.

  7. Turn off the fire and serve immediately with plain boiled rice.


  • Fresh spices are the cornerstone of making the best Goan food, or any Indian food for that matter. You may use a coffee grinder as a spice grinder, instead of buying spices that are already ground. By buying spices whole and grinding them as needed, your dishes will have a fuller flavor. 
  • For extra flavor, toast the whole spices before grinding and cooking with them.


  • South Indian variation: Add fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  • Simple North Indian variation: Eliminate the coconut and the individual spices and use garam masala, turmeric, and red chili powder instead. Add freshly chopped cilantro.

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