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Fish Head Curry

Fish Head Curry


  • 1 medium to large sized head of fish - Grouper  [Garoupa], Red Snapper, Salmon, etc., cleaned
  • 3-4 tbsp Malaysian fish curry powder
  • 1-1 tbsp, or to taste chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee [clarified butter] or vegetable oil
  • 5-6 garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds [optional]
  • 5-6 curry leaves [optional]
  • 2 med fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite vegetable for fish curry - brinjals [Japanese eggplant] cut into 1 inch pieces or small whole okra [ladies fingers]
  • 2 fresh red or green chili peppers, whole [optional]
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 4 cups water
  • cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-10 dried red Serrano chilies, reconstituted in hot water [Substitute: 2-3 tbsp or to taste, chili paste]

     [Items in red to be ground or blended]

Cook's Note : The next time you buy a large whole fish, or 2-3 medium-sized fish, reserve the heads and try out this recipe! Fish aficionados know the sweetest meat from the fish is from the head, especially the cheeks!

Any large fish head can be used - Grouper [Garoupa], Red Snapper, Salmon, Cod, Tuna, Mackerel, Striped Sea Bass.

* Click here for various fish (ikan) translations *

  for foodies all around the world

        To Prepare :

  • Rub salt all over fish head, leave on for 15 mins, then rinse salt off
  • If using dried red chilies, first remove stems, most seeds and reconstitute in hot water, drain well
  • Using a mortar & pestle or blender grind the softened dried chilies chilies [or chili paste], coriander and cumin seeds
  • In a small bowl, combine fish curry powder and chili powder, add a few tbsp of water and mix into a thick paste
  • Heat ghee or vegetable oil in a hot wok or pot, add fenugreek, garlic and curry leaves stir-fry for about 1 min
  • Add curry paste and chili paste, reduce heat to low, stir-fry until quite toasted and oil starts to ooze from paste - do not burn!
  • Using your fingers, mix tamarind paste around in 4 cups of water, strain, discard seeds and fibers
  • Add tamarind water, bring to a boil
  • Add coconut milk, fresh tomatoes, brinjals or okra, fresh red or green chili peppers [optional], sugar and season with salt and pepper, stir well
  • When it comes to a slow boil, add fish head, cover and simmer gently
  • When fish head is just cooked, remove promptly from heat, let stand for 15 mins [for flavors to meld]
  • Serve with bread, roti or steamed rice






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