Sri Lankan fish curry


  • Serves 4 people

The secret? Good, fresh spices, fried with care.

  • 4 pieces firm white fish fillets (180gm each), such as mulloway or snapper
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp each fenugreek seeds and white peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tsp each fennel seeds and brown mustard seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, plus extra sprigs, to serve
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 long green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp each ground chilli and ground coriander
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp tamarind purée
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • To serve: steamed basmati rice and coriander sprigs
01   Combine fish, half the turmeric and ½ tsp salt in a bowl, mix to coat well and set aside.
02   Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add whole spices and curry leaves and stir until spices pop (1 minute), then add onion, garlic and green chilli and stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes). Stir in ground spices, sauté until fragrant, then add tomato and cook until they begin to break down (2-3 minutes). Add tamarind and 700ml water, simmer until well flavoured (8-10 minutes), then add fish and coconut milk and simmer until just cooked through (4-5 minutes). Season to taste and serve hot with steamed rice, scattered with extra curry leaves and coriander.
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