Spicy Fish Curry

I must say tell you that the husband makes a mean crab curry. He gets crabs from the market, cuts and cleans them and then cooks up a storm in the kitchen! I have to step into the kitchen gingerly after he is done with it. The storm has its effects, you know. There would be utensils lying scattered everywhere and cabinet drawers open and the kitchen tap dripping water. The floor would be a ‘debris-field’ of potato and onion peels, spilled water and spice powders. When this happens, you have no other choice but to take a really deep breath and launch into a cleaning mode. 

That being said, I can do anything to have that crab curry. 

Now, a few days ago, I suddenly had cravings for that curry at dinner time. But there was no crab at home and it was too late to go to the market. Instead, I had some nice big pieces of rohu fish in the freezer. Would the curry taste very bland if I used fish instead of the crab? Only one way to find out.

So, I approached the husband and asked him for his recipe of the crab curry. He gave a very non-committal type of answer, like ‘oh-nothing-special-just-the-usual-way’. Fine! I will make my own crab, oops, fish curry. I tried to recall his methods, of whatever I had seen during my ‘in and outs’ of the kitchen. And that’s how I went about and came up with this spicy fish curry!

Spicy Fish Curry


4-6 steaks of any firm white fish (I used rohu)

2 large onions, finely chopped

2-3 potatoes, quartered

2 green chillies, slit lengthwise (or chopped, if you wish)

2 tablespoon tomato puree

1 teaspoon fresh ginger-garlic paste

½ teaspoon each of turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, Kashmiri Mirch powder (or red chilli powder, if you want more heat) and Garam Masala (optional)

1 inch stick of cinnamon

2 green cardamoms

2 cloves

Vegetable oil (I used mustard oil) for cooking and deep-frying

1 teaspoon sugar

1 heaped tablespoon ghee or clarified butter

Salt and pepper to taste


Marinate the fish pieces in a little turmeric powder and salt for 15 minutes. Then lightly fry the pieces and keep aside.

Smear the quartered potatoes with a little turmeric powder and salt and deep fry them till they are almost cooked and golden. Keep aside.

Now, heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok and let the cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamoms splutter. Add the chopped onions, green chillies and the ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the onions turn brown. Sprinkle some water if the ginger-garlic sticks to the bottom of the wok. 

Next, mix the spice powders with a little water in a bowl and tip the paste into the wok. Stir well. 

When the spices are cooked, spoon in the tomato puree and cook till it blends into the spice. Now, pour 3 cups of water (or the amount you want your curry to be) and let it come to a gentle boil. Then, carefully slide in the fish steaks and the fried potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and a spoonful of sugar. Cover the vessel and let the curry simmer for around 3-5 minutes in low heat. Remove the lid, add a generous dollop of ghee and take the vessel off the gas. Serve hot alongside some steamed rice or any bread of your choice. 

I think the fish curry did well, although it was not exactly a match to the crab one.  It was beautiful, packed with flavours and hot. The golden fried potatoes and the ghee elevated the dish to another level altogether.  It satiated my curry craving successfully and even the husband admitted it was quite a great dish to have on the table, despite the absence of the coveted crab. So, all’s well that ends well!


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