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Keralan Fish Curry

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER
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Introduction

This tamarind-tangy curry makes for a perfect dinner on a hot night; light enough not to knock you out, but spiced enough to prompt a heat-drowsy appetite. And it is such gloriously easy food to make.

This tamarind-tangy curry makes for a perfect dinner on a hot night; light enough not to knock you out, but spiced enough to prompt a heat-drowsy appetite. And it is such gloriously easy food to make.

Keralan Fish Curry
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

Metric Cups
  • 1¼ kilograms firm white fish
  • salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions (halved and cut into fine half moons)
  • 2 long red chillies
  • 4 centimetres piece of fresh root ginger
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 x 400 millilitres tin coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind (or 2 tablespoons concentrated)
  • 1 tablespoon fish stock concentrate
  • 2¾ pounds firm white fish
  • salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions (halved and cut into fine half moons)
  • 2 long red chiles
  • 1 inch piece of fresh gingerroot
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • 14 fluid ounce tin coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind (or 2 tablespoons concentrated)
  • 1 tablespoon fish broth concentrate

Method

  1. Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks, put them into a large bowl, and rub with a little salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and peel and tip in your fine half-moons of onion; sprinkle them with a little salt to stop them browning and then cook, stirring, until they've softened; this should take scarcely 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the whole, unseeded chillies into thin slices across (although if you really don't want this at all hot, you can deseed and then just chop them) and then toss them into the pan of softened onions. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them too, along with the remaining teaspoon of turmeric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions for a few minutes.
  3. Pour the tin of coconut milk into a measuring jug and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste and the fish stock concentrate, using boiling water from the kettle to bring the liquid up to the litre mark. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you want to. And actually you can do all this hours in advance if this helps.
  4. When you are absolutely ready to eat, add the fish to the hot sauce and heat for a couple of minute until it's cooked through but still tender.
  1. Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks, put them into a large bowl, and rub with a little salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and peel and tip in your fine half-moons of onion; sprinkle them with a little salt to stop them browning and then cook, stirring, until they've softened; this should take scarcely 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the whole, unseeded chillies into thin slices across (although if you really don't want this at all hot, you can deseed and then just chop them) and then toss them into the pan of softened onions. Peel the ginger and slice it, then cut the slices into straw-like strips and add them too, along with the remaining teaspoon of turmeric and the cumin. Fry them with the onions for a few minutes.
  3. Pour the tin of coconut milk into a measuring jug and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste and the fish broth concentrate, using boiling water from the kettle to bring the liquid up to the litre mark. Pour it into the pan, stirring it in to make the delicate curry sauce. Taste and add more tamarind paste if you want to. And actually you can do all this hours in advance if this helps.
  4. When you are absolutely ready to eat, add the fish to the hot sauce and heat for a couple of minute until it's cooked through but still tender.

Additional Information

For gluten free make sure the fish stock concentrate is gluten free.

For gluten free make sure the fish stock concentrate is gluten free.

Tell us what you think

What 10 Others have said

  • hot diggety dog!! I have barely put down my spoon and feel compelled to share the ecstasy I am in right now having just eaten this phenomenal curry!! Wow. Delightful. Delicious. Scrummy! Tamarind is heavenly. I took the advice of another commenter and used coconut oil as opposed to veg oil - really worked well. I also didn't have enough fish (smoked haddock) so topped up with some wild mushrooms pre-fried with garlic (added at the same time as the fish). Textures complemented each other nicely I thought (if I do say so myself). This one is coming out at the next soiree no doubt xx

    Posted by Carmela-Miranda on 3rd June 2016
  • This is one of my go to meals! I have tried with Monk Fish and Prawns and they worked a treat!

    Posted by cassie cat on 28th August 2014
  • Tried this today using prawns. Wonderful!

    Posted by amalif on 24th August 2014
  • For better taste...adding coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil and using garcinia gummi gutta (Kerala Kudampuli) instead of Tamarind.

    Posted by Tomybluelagoon on 9th August 2014
  • I have just made this curry. It is sublime. I really recommend it, and it is so easy to prepare in advance. I added some coriander seeds and some fresh coriander at the end.

    Posted by piastro on 8th August 2014
  • Would just like to say what a wonderful dish, cooked this last night for my family. My young boys who two of them don't really like fish loved it, the misses said the best fish curry she has ever had. Big thank you Nigella.

    Posted by k.kelly on 30th March 2013
  • Being a chap from Kerala ( India ) and one who loves fish curry i can vouch for this recipe. Goes to show Nigella's keenness for authenticity. I know its hard to come by outside India, but if one can manage to get hold of kodampuli (www.kodampuli.com) and substitute it for the tamarind concentrate / paste, the curry will be something to die for ! :-)

    Posted by cksajan on 2nd June 2012
  • we love this dish, always a great weekend standby, I sometime use Hake instead of Monk Fish.

    Posted by cassie cat on 19th May 2012
  • I tried this recipe last night and it was utterly divine!! Possibly the nicest curry I have had ever - and that's saying a lot as I am a HUGE fan of the prawn and red Thai curry by Nigella. I used Monkfish which was perfect. I used enough fish for two although I follwed the measurements for the sauce as per the recipe which is for 4-6 people as I like a lot of sauce. I urge everyone to make this! It is SO easy too!

    Posted by irish on 7th October 2011
  • Hi Nigella, You could try adding coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil. Always tastes better with coconut milk. Athila

    Posted by aadhiaziz on 8th August 2011
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