Madras Fish Curry Of Snapper, Tomato And Tamarind – Rick Stein


  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 15g/3 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
  • 30 fresh curry leaves
  • 2tsp Kashmirir chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 100ml tamarind liquid
  • 2 green chilies, each sliced lengthways into 6 pieces, with seeds.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 700g snapper fillets, cut into 5cm chunks.
  • Boiled basmati rice
  • Tamarind Liquid


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat.
  2. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds, then stir in the onion and garlic and fry gently for about 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden.
  3. Add the curry leaves, chili powder, coriander and turmeric and fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, tamarind liquid, green chilies and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes until rich and reduced. Add the fish, cook for a further 5 minutes or until just cooked through, and serve with plain rice.

To make the tamarind liquid

  1. Take 60g tamarind pulp and put it in a bowl with 120 ml just-boiled water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then work the paste with your fingers until it has been broken down and the seeds have been released.
  2. Strain the slightly syrupy mixture through a fine sieve, rubbing it well against the side of the sieve to extract as much of the extract as possible.
  3. Discard the fibrous material and seeds left behind. The liquid is ready to use and will keep in the fridge for 24 hours.


  • vince brophy

    25th March 2014

    This curry is fab and so easy to do the taste is brilliant I’ve made this dish a few times now many thanks Rick

    • williamkay

      15th April 2014

      It is very good eh! However my fishmonger told me not to bother with Red Snapper, he said it was pretty tasteless and also usually imported a long way. Perhaps find a more local alternative with a bit more punch? We had monkfish (yes the fishmonger made a larger profit 😉


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