Malaysian Fish Curry

with tomato, okra and tamarind juice

Fear not the fish head!

For this recipe, I am aided by my friend, Palm Amatawet, to cook up our version of the classic Malaysian Fish Curry.

The dish itself traditionally uses the fish head, as it is packed with flavour. To cater to both Asian and Western diners, in this case a whole snapper is used instead.

This way you still get all the intense tastes that only a fish head can provide, but also enjoy the dish without being afraid of feeling squeamish.

Will Meyrick




Main Ingredients
  • 1 whole snapper, cut into 2 parts
  • 2 full tablespoons curry paste (see sub recipe)
  • 50 ml cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 pieces curry leaves, picked
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder


  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon fish curry powder (see sub recipe)
  • ½ liter fish stock or water
  • 1 ½ red tomatoes wedge
  • 5 pieces okra (lady fingers)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Curry Paste

  • 800 grams shallots
  • 100 grams garlic
  • 100 grams fish curry powder
  • 25 grams dried shrimp paste (ebi), toasted
  • 50 grams chilli powder
  • 125 grams lemongrass
  • 140 grams galangal, peeled
  • 150 grams ginger, peeled

* Blend all ingredients together into a fine paste.

Fish Curry Powder

  • 500 grams fenugreek
  • 600 grams mustard seeds
  • 300 grams cumin seeds
  • 500 grams fennel seeds
  • 100 grams dried red chilli powder
  • 300 grams coriander seeds
  • 100 grams turmeric powder

* Blend all ingredients together into a fine powder.


chopped coriander leaves

Step by Step Instructions

step 1 : sauteed

* Heat oil in a pan, fry cumin seeds, fenugreek, mustard seeds and curry leaves until fragrant and then add in curry paste, low the heat and sauté until the oil has split.

step 2 : pouring

Add in turmeric powder, chilli powder and fish curry powder followed by fish stock or water.

step 3 : boiling

Bring to boil.

step 4 : fish and vegs

Add in the fish, tomato wedge and okra, then simmer down and seasoning with salt and tamarind juice.

step 5 : cooking slowly

Continue to cook on medium heat and add in coconut milk and chopped coriander leaves at the end.

step 6 : serving

Serve with steamed rice

selamat menjamu selera

Bon appetit!