Around the World #3: Sri Lankan Fish Curry

DSC_0536If you love fish, you have got to taste this curry! This is an aromatic, ‘oh so fragrant’, ‘tantalizing to the taste buds’ type of curry.! It has the flavors of so many spices – this recipe uses the SriLankan Curry powder, which I posted last week. All you need is some rice and some ‘alone’ time where you can enjoy the different layers of flavor this curry offers you – the bitterness of fenugreek with the heat of red chillies, the earthy taste of fennel and coriander, the sourness due to the tamarind and finally the rich creamy texture from the coconut milk. The fish pieces are soft and they melt in your mouth and they taste heavenly having soaked in all the spices from the curry. And this is coming from me who as you know is so passionate about her Kerala Fish curry. Well that still remains my number #1 Recipe for fish probably because I grew up eating it. But this one comes a close second! I could not have enough of this curry – I threw some rice into the almost empty pot just so I could get the last bits of the curry into the rice. It would have been a sin to waste any bit of this curry.!

fish_curry_collageOK So where did I get this recipe from? I browsed through some recipes on the internet. And watched a couple videos on youtube. This recipe is based on a combination of different recipes I saw and this video which is of a local chef sharing his fish curry recipe.  Kerala Fish curry that I have posted uses Kodampuli which gives it the distinctive taste. Some Kerala Fish curry recipes also use tamarind but I had never made a tamarind fish curry until now. I am thinking that next time I shall try this recipe using Kodampuli since tamarind is not very good for my arthritis. We will worry about that later but for now enjoy this curry coming to you from my virtual tour of SriLanka. I am bringing this flavorful, delicious entree to Fiesta Friday this week.

I also did a video for this recipe.


Sri Lankan Fish Curry

  • Servings: Serves 4-5 when served with rice
  • Time: About 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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10-12 pieces of fish

1 medium size onion,thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped pandan leaves
5-6 fresh Curry leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 medium tomato, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp Sri lankan curry powder
1 tsp red chilli
1/2 tsp mustard pow dissolved in 2 tsp water
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water

about 1/4 tbsp tamarind pulp (Or pingpong ball sized tamarind dissolved in 1/2 cup water)
1 cup fresh coconut milk* (use 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut, 1 cup warm water to extract milk) or canned coconut milk


Take a medium size cooking pot , a clay pot would be preferred. Add the washed fish pieces to it. Add all the ingredients other than the tamarind and the coconut milk into the pot and mix well using your hands such that the fish is well coated with the oil and the spices. Add the cup of water and cook covered on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring/swirling the pot frequently to ensure that the fish pieces do not stick to the pot.

Next add the tamarind pulp and cook for another 5 minutes again covered.

Lastly add the coconut milk and stir well (carefully without breaking the fish) to blend in the curry. Cook for about two minutes and turn heat off.

Serve warm with cooked rice and pappadums!

SriLankan Fish curry




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0 thoughts on “Around the World #3: Sri Lankan Fish Curry

  1. Pingback: Around the World #3: Carrot Sambol and a Round up! – Indu's International Kitchen

  2. At a Christmas party last night I met a woman from Sri Lanka and we spoke about food of course, the wonderfully spiced cuisine and here you come serendipitously tempting our palates at FF with a dish from Sri Lanka! Thank you Indu.

  3. This is one of my favorite dishes when we go out to dinner at an Indian restaurant. I will have to try making my own. What would you substitute for pandan leaves? I’ve never seen them here. And, I’ve never heard that tamarind is bad for arthritis???

    Thank you for bringing this to FF.

    • Hi Liz, I don’t know of a good substitute to panda leaves – i just recently started using these myself. I got them (frozen pandan leaves) from an asian grocers.I am sure that the curry will still taste delicious even without them.! As for tamarind and arthritis, some folks say it is bad – I am not sure. right now I am trying to avoid too much of it that’s all. 🙂

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