Fish curry recipe – Simple, delicious & flavorful Indian fish curry in a onion tomato base. Fish is one of the favorite sea foods at home and most times it is the fish fry or the pepper fish that is made as they are quick to make.
I rarely make fish curry at home in Singapore as we do not like the taste of the variety we get here. They are good to make fish fry or roast but do not taste good in a curry or gravy.
Fish curry is made during our every visit to India at my mum’s home as we are accessible to fresh water fish. Though I had many reader requests for a good fish curry recipe I had not shared one so far, since I do not make the curry in Singapore.
During our visit to my mum’s home, I got to make this twice. It turned out very good so sharing it.
Simple fish curry recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Marination for fish curry
- 500 grams Fish (half kg)
- ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
- ⅛ tsp turmeric
- ¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp salt or as needed
To saute & puree
- 1 tbsp oil (adjust as needed)
- ½ tsp cumin (or jeera)
- 2 medium onions sliced or 1 cup sliced
- ½ tbsp ginger garlic minced or paste
- 2 medium tomatoes ripe (¾ to 1 cup chopped)
- ½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as needed)
- ⅛ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp fennel seeds (optional) (saunf)
- 2 tbsp coconut grated or cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 sprig curry leaves or small bay leaf
- 1 to 2 green chili (chopped or slit)
- 1 to 1 ½ tsp garam masala or curry powder as needed (refer notes)
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cup water
How to make the recipe
Preparation for fish curry
- Marinate fish with ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste, ⅛ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp red chilli powder & ¼ tsp salt.
- On a flat fry pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Fry fish pieces slightly until the raw smell goes away just for 2 to 3 mins on both sides. You can also sear the fish. Keep this aside. (refer picture below)
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot and add cumin. When they sputter, add onions and saute until lightly golden.
- Next add ginger garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes & ½ tsp salt. Saute until tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
- Next add coconut, fennel seeds (optional), red chili powder & turmeric. Fry until the mixture turns fragrant & raw smell has gone away.
- Cool this & add to a blender jar along with 2 to 4 tbsps water. Blend to a smooth or coarse paste to suit your liking. (refer notes). You can also use a immersion blender. Keep this aside.
Making fish curry
- Add 1 tbsp more oil to the same pot used earlier. Heat up on a low flame.
- When the oil turns slightly hot, add curry leaves & green chilies.
- When they splutter, add the ground onion tomato paste and garam masala. Fry until the mixture smells good. If you feel it is not hot enough for your taste, then add more chilli powder at this stage & saute.
- Pour 1 ¼ to 1½ cup water. Mix and bring it to a boil. Cook until you see traces of oil on the surface and the gravy thickens a bit.
- Gently slide the fish pieces and cook covered on a medium heat.
- Carefully flip or turn the pieces to the other side after 3 to 4 mins.
- Cook until the fish pieces bulge a bit. This is the indication they are cooked completely. Taste the curry and add more salt if needed.
- Optionally garnish fish curry with coriander leaves if desired.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
Preparation for fish curry recipe
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add cumin and allow to splutter. Then add onions & saute until golden.
2. Add ginger garlic and fry for 30 to 60 seconds. When they turn fragrant, add tomatoes and half tsp salt.
3. Fry until the raw smell goes away.
4. Add coconut, red chili powder, turmeric and fennel seeds (optional).
5. Fry everything well until the onion masala smells good. Ensure the raw smell has gone. Cool this completely.
6. This one and next step are optional. Marinate fish with red chili powder, turmeric, very little salt and ginger garlic paste. Do not leave this marinated fish aside, just fry them right away.
7. Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil, fry the fish until the raw smell of the ginger garlic paste has gone. You can use the same pan used to fry the onions, I used a different one since I used a steel pan. Set this aside.
8. Add the cooled ingredients to a blender jar along with 2 to 4 tbsps of water.
9. Blend to a coarse or smooth paste to suit your taste. We prefer coarse texture in our curry so I made a coarse paste. If you prefer a smooth texture, make a smooth paste.
How to make fish curry
10. Add another tbsp. oil & heat on a low flame. When the oil turns slightly hot, add curry leaves and green chilies.
11. When the leaves splutter, add the ground paste. Mix everything well .
13. Sprinkle garam masala and salt. You can add more red chilli powder at this stage to adjust the heat. I added a bit more. Fry everything well until the masala smells good.
14. Pour 1 ¼ cup water and mix well to make lump free gravy. You may need to adjust the amount of water slightly.
15. On a medium flame boil until the oil begins to separate and the gravy thickens. This may take about 5 mins. Check the salt and spice now. Adjust any taste that is needed. If you like to use tamarind, you can soak some tamarind in hot water. Extract and filter the juice to the gravy. We do not prefer tamarind so i have not used, the sourness from tomatoes is good enough.
16. Add the fish pieces to the gravy and cook for few mins. Flip them and cook until they bulge, meaning they are cooked completely. If desired garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve fish curry with rice or chapathi.