Fish Curry Recipe Served With Rice

Fish Curry, Flickr CC 2.0
Ratings (63)
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 Portions (4 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
263 Calories
18g Fat
25g Carbs
5g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are so many iterations of fish curry, you might get lost figuring out which is the best to try first. This traditional fish curry recipe is made with whole paanch phoran seeds and has a bit of a kick with its red chilies. The ingredients used to make it show a mix of both eastern and northern Indian culinary influences, so it's a good place to start before graduating to regional specialties like Goan or Mangalorean fish curries. Serve it on a bed of hot plain boiled rice.


  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) fish cut into 1" thick slices (this curry tastes best with Rohu but you can use any fish with firm white flesh)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 8 dry red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon paanch phoran seeds (see recipe below)
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1 large onion ground to a paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut powder
  • Walnut-sized ball of tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame and roast the dry red chilies, mustard and cumin seeds till they begin to release their aroma. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

Grind the tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala powder, coconut and above powder into a smooth paste. Keep aside. Squeeze the soaked tamarind well to remove all the pulp.

Heat the oil in a wide heavy-bottomed pan and add the paanch phoran (see recipe here) and curry leaves. When they stop spluttering, add the onion paste and fry till light brown.

Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the tomato and spice paste and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.

Add 2 cups of hot water and the tamarind pulp to this masala and stir to mix well.

Bring the gravy to a boil and then simmer.

Gently add the fish to this gravy and cook till done.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with plain boiled rice.

Cooking Tips and Ingredient Substitutions

Use coriander leaf for garnishing and squeeze some lime some juice on top to finish it off. Alternatively,  serve it over basmati rice and put fresh thinly sliced white onion on top. If it seems seedy, grind all of the whole seeds or just use already ground spices.