Sri Lankan Fish Curry

e_p10_recipeSri Lankan cuisine, like in many island cultures, brings forth some amazing seafood based dishes. This fish curry is warm and comforting without being heavy. It has an interesting flavour punch due to the crushed fennel seeds, and the spice level is easily adjusted. Serve with basmati rice, cooked with half water, half coconut milk. You can use the other half of the can of coconut milk for that!


• 400 g basa filets

• 1 onion

• 2 cloves of garlic

• 2 tomatoes

• 1 tsp chili flakes, or to taste

• 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced

• 1 tsp fennel seeds

• 1 tsp brown mustard seeds

• 1 tsp cumin seeds

• 1 tsp fenugreek seeds

• 2 tsp turmeric

• 2 cardamom pods

• 8 fresh curry leaves

• 1 tsp tamarind paste

• 200 mL coconut milk

• 500 mL water

• 1 small bunch of cilantro, a small amount of stems reserved


1. Chop onion, tomato and garlic into small pieces. In a bit of canola oil, soften and colour the onion, garlic, and ginger, on medium low heat, about 10 minutes.

2. With a mortar and pestle, lightly crush all whole spices and add to the pan. Turn the heat up a bit until the spices become fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the tomatoes, curry leaves, chili flakes and turmeric to the pan and cook on a low heat until the tomatoes are softened. Add coconut milk, tamarind syrup, and water and simmer for about 10 minutes to infuse the flavours.

4. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary. Add the pieces of fish, and cilantro stalks to the curry and simmer for between 5 and 10 minutes, or until the fish is nicely cooked through.

5. To thicken: dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch in 2 tbsp water. Stir into finished curry, heat through. Serve with coconut basmati rice, garnish with cilantro leaves.