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Mangalore Fish Curry —A Quick and Easy Recipe from a Sous Chef


—Recipe by Dinesh Kumar, Sous Chef Marriott Hotels, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Mangalore Fish Curry is the recipe for which I won a first prize during a cooking contest in October 2017, at the Hotel Renaissance Mumbai, at Powai in Maharashtra India. Sous Chef Dinesh Kumar of the Hotel Marriott Chennai, in Tamil Nadu , India taught me how to cook it and the little tricks and twists and turns

Tamarind Fruit and leaves

required to make it better than the best.

What is so special about the Mangalore Fish Curry is, that it uses fresh spices and herbs only. Consequently, a delicious tang with each ingredient retaining its emphasis in the end result.

This curry tastes best with rice. Thick shorter grained white rice or red/brown rice preferred to the more delicate long grained rice like Basmati. Bread, Naan or chapatti also, makes for a good accompaniment to this curry.

The fish may be  replaced by boiled eggs, cut in half, lengthwise; by the non-fish lover.

Vegetarians may replace the fish with diced Yam, diced potatoes/ fullbaby potatoes, soya nuggets or carrots; any or all of these.



300 grams of Red Snapper or any flat white fish like Pomfret, Surmayi etc;

2 tablespoons refined oil or preferred cooking medium;

Another ½ teaspoon of oil to fry the garnish;

6 Kashmiri chillies or any Chilies you prefer;

Tamarind Kernel Showing

2 tablespoons grated Coconut;

2 tablespoons Dhania (Coriander) seeds;

Quarter teaspoon Jeera (Cumin) seeds

2 servings of Ginger-garlic paste, ¼ teaspoons each;

One and a half medium sized Onion;

One large Tomato or two medium sized ones;

Tamarind Kernels ready to use

1 teaspoon Imli (Tamarind);

Quarter teaspoon Haldi (Turmeric powder)

Quarter teaspoon Red Chili powder;

Salt to taste.

For Garnish: Half   teaspoon chopped Hara Dhania (fresh Coriander).

½ teaspoon oil, 5 cloves of Garlic, 5 to 7 curry leaves, 3 unbroken Red Chillies.


  1. Cut the fish in bite sized pieces and marinate in ½ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, ½ teaspoon chili powder, less than ¼ teaspoon of Haldi (turmeric)powder and salt to taste;
  2. Place the tamarind to soften in a small bowl of water;
  3. Grind to a smooth paste: the 2 tablespoons of grated coconut, about 4 Kashmir chillies and ¾ tablespoon of Dhania (coriander) seeds. Keep the ground paste aside;
  4. Dice 1 ½ to two medium onions small and fine; (the easiest way to dice the onions is to make fine vertical slits on the whole onion in all eight directions. Thus obtaining criss-cross cuts. then turn the onion on its side, and cut fine, horizontally. Minuscule dice will drop out on your cutting board. This method of dicing onions also protects the eyes from watering as the onion stings;
  5. Puree the two tomatoes;
  6. Once softened, Mash the tamarind lightly in the water.


  1. On a high flame, heat all of  the 2 tablespoons of oil/ cooking medium.
  2. Add 8 curry leaves and a sprinkling of Jeera (Cumin) seeds to the hot oil.
  3. Continue on a high flame. When the seeds begin to splutter, add diced onions.
  4. Sauté the diced onions till light golden.
  5. Add ¼ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and 2 table spoons of water in the cooking vessel. Continue to sauté till the onions turn light brown.
  6. Add tomato puree, let cook for 30 seconds, stirring incessantly.
  7. Continue to constantly stir the contents of the pan.
  8. Add about 2 teaspoons of tamarind water. Let cook for a good two minutes, stirring continuously.
  9. Tamarind needs to cook well or else leaves a raw and slightly bitter taste in the food.
  10. It is important that you remember to continue to stir throughout this process.
  11. Add the ground Masala.
  12. Stir for another minute or so till the aroma of the Masala is released.
  13. Then, add 1cup of water, mix and stir.
  14. Bring to boil.
  15. Reduce the curry to required consistency or add more water if required.
  16. Add the marinated fish. let each piece of fish slide gently into the curry.
  17. Let cook while continuing to stir; but take care you do not break the fish up.
  18. In a separate vessel, heat a ½ teaspoon of oil.
  19. Fry 4 cloves of garlic, two Kashmiri chillies, and 5 to 7 curry leaves and add to the Mangalore Fish Curry.
  20. A ¼ teaspoon of chopped fresh coriander leaves to the garnished curry.
  21. Check curry for consistency and seasoning.
  22. Your Mangalore Fish Curry is ready to serve.

The Mangalore Fish Curry must be smooth and all the flavours –of the herbs and spices (hot, sour and salty) must be well balanced. Serve with Rice or Plain bread as preferred.

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