Fish Head Curry

These chiles will add a deep, nutty flavor to dishes and are great to use in salsas and sauces. It is a medium-hot chile that is good in soups, stews, sauces and sausage.

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Mackarel – 4
Dried red chiles – 20-25
Tamarind – 1 small ball, about the size of a small lemon
Sichuan peppercorns – 10-12
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Grated coconut, optional – 1 tbsp
Garlic – 2 large cloves
Ginger – 1/2″ piece
Curry leaves – 5-6
Coconut oil – 2 tsps (or use any other cooking oil of your choice)
Coriander – for garnishing
Salt to taste


Soak the chiles in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften their skin. Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 15 minutes and extract the pulp. Use very little water when soaking the tamarind in order to get a thick pulp.

Marinate the fish with the turmeric powder and a pinch of salt.

Coarsely crush the sichuan pepper and then soak them in 1/4 cup of water for about 15 minutes.

Drain the chiles (don’t throw away the water) and grind them together with the tamarind pulp, garlic cloves, ginger and grated coconut to get a smooth paste. Avoid using too much water. Normally, the moisture from the grated coconut and the tamarind pulp should be enough.

Heat a tsp of oil in a wok and toss the marinated fish for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

In the same wok, add another tsp of oil. When hot, add the curry leaves followed by the masala paste, salt and sichuan peppercorns along with the water they were soaking in. Also add the reserved water from the drained red chillies. Bring to a boil.

Add the fish and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.

Serve hot with steamed rice.