Masala Fish Curry

Traditional Fish Curry
Michael O'Meara/Photodisc/Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

Masala fish curry can be prepared with a variety of different fish and seafood, such as mackerel, king mackerel, whitebait, lobster, mussels, oysters, clams, or dry shrimp. It tastes great with a side of pilaf or simple, plain boiled rice and a green salad.


  • 1 kg fish, scaled and cut into 1.5” thick slices (if using shellfish, clean thoroughly and remove shells)
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2-3 tbsps cooking oil
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1” piece of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • A pinch of cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 large onions sliced thinly
  • 2 medium potatoes washed thoroughly and cut into cubes (do not peel)
  • 1 tsp jaggery (you can use sugar or palm sugar if you can’t find jaggery)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped finely
  • A pinch of mace powder
  • Optional: 1 tbsp of toddy or vodka (gives the curry an authentic flavor)
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: 3 tbsps finely chopped, fresh coriander

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large, non-metallic bowl, mix the ginger paste, garlic paste, lime/ lemon juice, and salt to taste. Stir to mix well and make a marinade, then add the fish pieces. Mix to coat the pieces well with the marinade. Keep aside.

  2. Now heat a large pan on medium. Add the cooking oil to it when hot. When the oil is hot, add the green chilies, cinnamon, and cloves. When they stop spluttering and turn slightly darker and aromatic, add the cardamom powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Mix well and sauté for 1 minute.

  3. Now add the sliced onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Now add the potatoes, jaggery/ palm sugar, salt to taste and approximately 1 cupful of hot water. Bring to a boil, simmer heat and cook until the potatoes are tender.

  4. Now add the tomato and the previously marinated fish gently to the sauce. Use a spoon to cover the fish completely with the sauce/gravy — cover and cook for 5 minutes. The gravy should be relatively thick and the fish tender.

  5. Add the mace powder and toddy/ vodka and stir gently. Turn off heat immediately and cover the pot. Leave for 5 minutes.

  6. If desired, garnish with chopped coriander and serve on a bed of Pilaf or plain boiled rice. Add a green salad for a well-rounded meal.