Red fish curry

Red fish curry

Reza’s Indian Spice

This has a complex taste, both piquant and aromatic. It is on the spicy side, but the coconut milk helps to tame the heat. If you are going to be using a lot of grated garlic or root ginger, it’s a good idea to make a big batch in advance and freeze it in freezer bags. Simply grate a large amount of garlic or ginger – or, even quicker, blitz it in a food processor with a little vegetable oil and water to help form a smooth paste – then freeze. Bash a bit off with a rolling pin and defrost to use as needed.


Quantity Ingredient
10 kashmiri dried chillies, 5 deseeded and 5 left whole
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 cloves
6-8 peppercorns
2.5cm cinnamon stick or cassia bark
3 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 onions, finely chopped
100ml fish stock, plus more for the paste (optional)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree, diluted in a small amount of water
400ml can coconut milk
4 sea bass fillets
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves


  1. Soak the Kashmiri chillies in a small amount of warm water for at least 20 minutes, to soften.
  2. In a small dry frying pan, lightly roast the cumin, sesame and coriander seeds, the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon or cassia and cardamom over a medium-low heat, until the spices release their aromas. Put into a coffee or spice grinder and blend to a fine powder.
  3. Put the ginger, garlic, onions and drained chillies into a jug blender and blend to a smooth paste, adding about 100ml of water or fish stock to achieve a smooth paste. Add the roasted, ground spice mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion paste and the 100ml of stock and stir-fry for eight to 10 minutes, until the mixture mellows out and the moisture has evaporated to leave a thick paste. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée and continue to cook until all the tomatoes have disintegrated into the sauce.
  5. Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer. Add the fish fillets and cook for five to eight minutes, until the fish begins to flake. Squeeze in the lime juice, adjust the seasoning, and sprinkle with the chopped coriander.
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