Coconut milk fish curry

Curry leaves, freshly pressed coconut milk and the aroma of tempered spices in the air.. How I love my life, especially when it involves this lip smacking fish curry, mi amore` and a rainy night. 


I have a Love-Hate relationship with Tradition. I am not a non conformist..i am not an idealist either.  But I do hate doing things just for the sake of tradition. That being said there is a particular tradition I absolutely LOVE and that’s the tradition of mom’s passing on some gems from their kitchen. I am not talking about your mom’s prized china or copper utensils here guys…I am talking about the gems of recipes..the little pearls of wise tips..the delicious little anecdotes that comes with the recipes one gets handed down from their mothers and grandma!

That is a tradition that I am proud to be a part of…and lucky to get hold of !! :P

I come from a long line of feeders. My grandma who was a fabulous cook passed on her considerably envious talent and recipes to my mom, who as you all know is the raison d’etre for me being the person that I am today.

fish curry 1

This particular fish curry needs no introduction to most Indians…from whichever state they might belong to. Its a simple,time tested curry thats been passed on from generation to generation..

Although the basic gravy is almost similar to the really delicious one that my mom makes,  this pot of delight comes with an addition degree of delicious in the form of coconut milk!! Yes, its rich, spicy and tangy…the fish superbly cooked and rendered tender from the spices.


Once you open up the lid of the pot, your senses will be intoxicated with layers of flavor and fragrance…There’s the strong hard-to-mask pungent fragrance from the mustards, the earthy aroma of garlic,the heat from green chillies, tang from tamarind and the special magical aroma of curry leaves… and the whole curry is taken to another level all together with the addition of some coconut milk. 

As for the fish….hmm …. You can eat the fried fish as it is…they are super yumm with a squeeze of lime..and the fish in the curry??

Oh My… now that one can sing a song…. croon a soft melodious tune in your ears as its breaks open at the lightest touch to reveal a shiny white inside that is utterly and deliciously flavored from the spices of the gravy!

Don’t forget to join us for our weekly party at SAUCY SATURDAYS tomorrow.. We have got some Ah-MAZING features all lined up to share with you..  and a fabulous Featured on SS Badge too!!! YAY!! 🙂 


And since we are talking about parties, how can I not mention these two amazing linky parties I am carrying this pot to! Fabulous Angie of Fiesta Friday is hosting her super fun Friday party and I cant wait to be a part of it and see all the awesome stuff everyone has brought to the party. 

And then Michelle and Jenny from A dish of Daily Life and Honeyandbirch are hosting their fabulous FoodieFridiy. That is one party you shouldn’t miss…alongwith Saucy Saturdays here 😛 

fishu curry 5

Lotsa love,

S 🙂 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Coconut milk fish curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Curry leaves, freshly pressed coconut milk and the aroma of tempered spices in the air.. How I love my life, especially when it involves this lip smacking fish curry and some freshly steamed rice.
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: Serves 4
  • Rohu Fish or Hilsa - 1 kg , cut into fillets
  • For the fish Marinade (15-20 mins before frying) :
  • Salt (as per taste)
  • Turmeric 1 tsp,
  • Kashmiri Red Chillie Powder 2 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tbsp ( i use fresh paste)
  • Lemon Juice of 1 lemon
  • Tamarind Paste 1½ tsp.
  • Mustard Oil 2 tbsp.
  • For the Masala or the gravy : (Grind together into a fine paste the under mentioned):
  • Black Mustard Seeds – 40gm
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds -20 gm
  • Garlic 1 whole
  • Ginger ½inch
  • Green Chillies – 3 or more.
  • Red Chillie -1
  • Turmeric -1/2 tsp
  • Salt- a pinch.
  • Others:
  • Coconut Milk - 1 cup
  • Onion 1 large, chopped fine
  • Ripe Tomatotes – 1 medium, chopped fine
  • Tamarind Paste of 1½tbsp.
  • Garnish/ Tempering :
  • Crushed Garlic Cloves – 2
  • Green Chillies Slit- 1
  • Dried Red Chillie – 1
  • Curry Leaves – 1 stem
  • Black Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  • Coriander Leaves – 1-2 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp (optional)
  1. Before marinating the fish, soak both the mustards in a bowl with water and a pinch of turmeric. Mix .Set aside.
  2. Now marinate the fish in the above mentioned ingredients thoroughly. Increase or decrease the spices as per your taste..I don’t measure them as I usually eyeball my ingredients, so this is just an approximate.
  3. Leave it aside for 15-20 mins.
  4. After 15 mins, heat some Mustard Oil or coconut oil ONLY, PLSSSS) in a kadhai or pan..
  5. When hot, add the fish to the pan making sure its away from you, coz it will definitely splatter!
  6. Lay as much as it can hold..I do 3-4 at a time ..You don’t want to over crowd them..
  7. Do not move the fish immediately. Let it fry on one side for 3-4 mins, turn it over to the other side and cook for another 5 mins till done. It should be golden brown.
  8. Remove from the pan and set aside the fried fish on a plate.
  9. Next for the curry:
  10. Start by making the masala paste..Grind together all the ingredients mentioned above into a fine paste.But still try to let it have some texture.. Add a little water or mustard oil if needed while grinding. Do NOT forget to add salt and turmeric. Again, adjust chillie acc to taste..but it tastes super delicious our way.
  11. Next, heat a little mustard oil in a kadhai or pan.I use the same oil the fish was pan fried in to incorporate even more flavor.
  12. Add a little black mustard seed, pop a red chillie, once it splutters add some curry leaves,saute for 30 secs till the leaves are fragrant .
  13. Now add the onions and cook till pink and translucent.
  14. Next add the prepared ground masala to the onions, adjust turmeric and red chillie powder accordingly depending on the color desired.
  15. Cook well, stirring for 3-4 minutes.
  16. Add in the chopped tomatoes,a pinch of salt and cook the masala till oil leaves from the sides… and it smells really pungent and wonderful .
  17. Add the tamarind paste..mix well and cook for a min.
  18. Add the coconut milk and sufficient water to make a gravy of not too thin,not too thick consistency.
  19. Once the water is bubbling, add in the fried fish pieces. (I reserve some fried fish to eat as it is)
  20. Lower the flame and let it simmer for 10 minutes till thick and cooked beautifully.
  21. Once done, turn off the gas.
  22. In a small tadka pan, add a little mustard oil, mustard seeds,the crushed garlic, the chillies and the curry leaves, ..Let it all come to a splutter ..then simply pour this on top of the curry and immediately close the lid of the kadhai or pan.
You can see that my ground masala is just a little bit grainy. It adds a certain rustic charm to the dish which I adore! Traditionally my grandma used a mortar and pestle to make the paste..grinding laboriously till the whole kitchen smelt like a pungent heaven! But I simply use my blender.

I used my Air fryer to fry the fish. You can of course do this on a pan or skillet, but since I got my new toy i have been using it for all things possible! 😛

28 thoughts

  1. This looks really delicious Swayam! Can I ask which cuisine this recipe belongs to – wondering if its Mangolarean? I have gotta try this soon! THANKS! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Indu.. Honestly I am not sure which cuisine this belongs to.. its got notes of Kerela in it.. Not mangalorean..But its just one of those recipes mom’s always made and we have gluttonously eaten without bothering about its origin! DO give this a shot..its a family favorite.. 🙂

    1. Hi Alex..Rohu or Rui is a typical Indian fresh water fish..You can sub it with carp, or sea bass.. Pomfret fillets work really well too. Hilsa is a type of Herring!! Filled with bones but the taste is amazing..we call it the King of fishes here in India.. 🙂 Hope it helps.. 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness, this sounds divine!! I can just imagine the smell of all those beautiful spices, and it is making me hungry! Oh and I love the ‘I come from a long line of feeders’ 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Donna!! This is really a family fave and we LOVE it everytime 🙂 Thanks for visiting my space…
      PS: I co host a new party on saturdays called Saucy Saturdays 8am EST…Feel free to link up!! I repin them to over 5 boards and give a shout out on every SOcial media.

    1. Thanks so much Jane!! We make this curry quite often and love it everytime. Hope you like it too.. PS: Theres a delicious egg curry too.. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Olivia!! Glad you enjoy fish curries..I would love to hear back from u!
      Also, I co host a link party called SaucySaturdays..we go live at 8am EST till wed morning, we would love for you to join us 🙂

  3. I am drooling just looking at this picture! Can I tell you how much I love Indian food?! I need to try this…it looks so good!

    And thank you for mentioning our party as well…I really do appreciate it! It was very kind of you! 🙂 Hope you are having a great week!

    1. Your party Rocks!!! I love linking up there..and hey i didn’t know you liked fish curries! You can use carp in place or rui here..or even pomfret fillets. Or simply swap fish for tiger prawns!! 🙂

    1. Becky I am just like you!! I hate fish at buffets too!! But there is something different about homemade curries.. and you have to try this if you ever wanna have fish curry 🙂

  4. This looks exactly like my favorite fish curry at one of my favorite restaurants here in Dubai. Thanks for sharing. Yummed as well.

  5. Hi! I made this recipe as directed and I found that 40 grams of black mustard seed along with 20 grams of yellow mustard seed is entirely too much! Is this the correct measurement? Volume wise it comes out to about 1/4 cup of black mustard!!

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