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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 and has broken down. Then add in okra and boil for 5 mins.
  • Put in fish and boil for 5 minutes. 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.