Indian Style Fish Curry

So growing up I loved my mum’s fish curry. But there were some spices she added I wasn’t crazy about. So in my kitchen I leave them out – and this is my go to recipe which works for us!

This is the Indian style curry – which has a sourish taste (which is what the tamarind water is for)  which goes oh so wonderfully with white rice. These are in the ingredients I use.

I start by adding the onions, garlic + ginger and curry leaves into the wok.

Once onions are nice and soft, I add in the powders with the tamarind water and 250mlwater. Give it  good mix and cook for 5 mins and let boil. BOILing in this recipe is important.

Add in the tomatoes and allow to further boil for 10mins followed by the  okra.

Add in fish and let BOIL for 5 mins. Add in salt and stir. I usually pre-fry my fish then later add into the curry. However you can skip this step and add in fish directly into the curry.

Indian Style Fish Curry

I don't usually buy fennel, fenugreek or mustard seeds which are the usual suspects in a fish curry. However I choose to make the fish curry my way and it works well for us!


  • 4-5 Tenggiri (Mackerel) fish slices I buy them already sliced. The slices should not be too thick.
  • 5 Okra Cut into 5cm lengths or slit lengthwise
  • 2 Tomatoes Chopped into small to medium pieces so can breakdown faster
  • 2 Sprigs curry leaves just use the leaves
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp ginger & garlic pounded small piece ginger and 2 cloves garlic pounded
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Tamarind Water

  • 1/3 cup tamarind pulp mixed with 250ml water Give the pulp a squeeze in the water. Strain away the seeds. Keep the tamarind water.

Mix these powders in a bowl

  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2-3 tbsp chilli powder Add less or more depending on how spicy you like it.


  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok.
  • Put in sliced onions, ginger & garlic paste and curry leaves and fry for few mins till onions are nice and soft.
  • Put in powder mix, tamarind water and 250ml water. Mix and cook for 5 mins and bring to a boil.
  • Add tomatoes and boil for 10 mins or until it turns mushy (with lid on) and has broken down. Then add in okra and boil for 5 mins.
  • Put in fish and boil for 5 minutes (with lid on). Add salt. If you want, you may top up the water OR add in 100ml coconut milk.


Tamarind (asam jawa) is commonly available from supermarkets in the form of pulp which must be soaked in water, stirred, squeezed and strained to yield a sour liquid that adds intense flavour to a dish. All solids and pulp should be discarded from the liquid before use.
Source: Homestyle Indian Cooking by Devagi Sanmugam
  1. I also use the tamarind pulp to make ikan bilis sambal - the balance can be stored in the freezer
  2. Important for the curry to BOIL well especially when tomatoes and fish are added.
  3. You may choose to pre-fry the fish before adding into the curry. If so, just add some salt, turmeric + chilli powder to the slices and pan fry. We like it this way. The fish is firmer.
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3 years ago

Indian-style fish curry is one of the dishes we miss while we are overseas. Always love okra in fish curry too 🙂 Those spices you used for your fish curry are exactly what I would use too, because they are available in my pantry. I don’t have fennel, fenugreek or mustard seeds in my pantry, so I would just skip those too!

2 years ago

The images that you have shared make it, even more, easier to understand . I really appreciate your efforts in making this post thank you so much for sharing the steps for us to try I will surely try making it for my family.