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)
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder
- Salt as needed
for fish curry
- 2 tbsp oil (adjust as needed)
- 2 medium onions sliced or ¾ cup sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes ripe (do not use very sour)
- ½ tsp saunf (or fennel seeds, optional)
- 2 tbsp coconut grated or cashew nuts
- 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as needed)
- ½ tsp cumin (or jeera)
- 1 to 2 green chili (chopped or slit)
- 1 sprig curry leaves or small bay leaf
- 1 small onion chopped finely (optional)
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 to 1 ½ tsp garam masala or curry powder as needed (refer notes)
- 1 ¼ cup water
How to make the recipe
Preparation for fish curry
- Marinate fish with ingredients mentioned under marination. Set aside till we need.
- Fry onions in 1 tbsp oil until lightly golden. Saute tomatoes as well until soft and mushy.
- Next add coconut, saunf, red chili powder & turmeric. Fry until the mixture turns fragrant & raw smell has gone away.
- Cool this & blend to a smooth or coarse paste to suit your liking. You can also use a immersion blender.
- If needed add 2 tbsp water to blend well.
- Fry fish in 1 tsp oil slightly until the raw smell goes away just for 2 to 3 mins on both sides. You can also sear the fish.
Making fish curry
- Add 1 tbsp more oil to the pan or kadai.
- Allow cumin to splutter. Fry onions, curry leaves & green chili until the onions turn golden.
- Saute ginger garlic until the raw smell goes off.
- Add the ground paste, red chili powder (optional) and garam masala. Fry until the mixture smells good.
- Pour 1 ¼ cup water. Bring it to a boil. Cook until the oil begins to separate and the gravy thickens a bit.
- Drop the fish pieces and cook on a medium heat covered.
- Gently flip them after 3 to 4 mins or more depending on the thickness of the piece.
- Cook on both the sides until done. Fish pieces bulge a bit when cooked completely.
- 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 and fry onions until golden.
2. Add tomatoes.
3. Fry until the raw smell goes away. If using very sour tomatoes, you may need to adjust the quantity slightly.
4. Add coconut, red chili powder, salt, saunf and if desired little turmeric.
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.
9. Blend to a coarse or smooth paste. We prefer coarse paste. I also added 2 tbsp water.
How to make fish curry
10. Add another tbsp. oil and crackle some cumin. Fry onions, curry leaves and green chilies. You can also skip cumin and onions at this step.
11. When the onions turn golden, fry ginger garlic paste until the raw smell goes off.
12. Add the ground paste. Mix everything well and saute for 2 mins.
13. Sprinkle red chili powder, garam masala and salt. 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.