Easy yellow fish curry


This fish curry is incredibly easy to prepare, and would have been the staple dish in many Indian households where fish was easy to access. In my grandmother’s house, the fresh masalas would be ground and the coconuts opened and scraped first thing in the morning.  The fish seller would come to the door with a selection of the day’s catch, and by lunchtime the curry would be ready.  

I use my bottle masala for this recipe, if you don’t have any, use a very good curry powder (one without salt, sugar, flours, preservatives or anti-caking agents) or try a simple mix of red chilli powder, turmeric and ground cumin and coriander.

For up to 4 people you will need:  

500 grams of fish fillets (I used Spanish Mackerel)

3 tablespoons of oil (coconut oil works well)

a stalk of curry leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon of bottle masala

1/3 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of salt

a stock cube

1 teaspoon of tamarind paste

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

a tin of good quality coconut milk (I use Ayam brand)

Place the fish fillets on a plate and sprinkle with the bottle masala, salt and turmeric. Turn over to coat, and leave to marinate for 30 minutes or so (you can also cook immediately if you don’t have the time).  In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the curry leaves if you have them.  Turn the heat to medium-low and place the fish fillets in a single layer.  Fry for a minute or so and turn over to brown the other side.  Next slowly add around 200 ml or so of coconut milk, crumble in half to one stock cube and stir gently to mix, ensuring you don’t break up the fish too much.  Let the curry cook on a low heat for 10 minutes or so.  At the end, add the sugar and tamarind paste and stir again.  Taste for salt, sugar and the right amount of ‘sour’ from the tamarind, before serving.  If you don’t have tamarind you can use some freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.  

Coconut, ginger and prawn curry


I was enjoying my coconut chutney so much I decided to use it in this curry... which I will cook again and again... it was spicy, gingery and full of coconut flavour - perfect for this cold weather.  

We ate it with rice but I think it would also taste good with noodles.  

For two people you will need:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 stalk of curry leaves (if you can get them)

1 tablespoon of ginger, cut into very thin matchsticks

½ to 1 green chilli, depending on how hot you like it

2 spring onions, finely chopped

½ cup of peas

250 g prawns

½ a tin of coconut milk (around 135 ml)

125 g coconut chutney

salt and pepper to taste

To make the coconut chutney you will need:

1 cup of dessicated coconut

1 green chilli

1 inch square of ginger

½ a teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoons of sugar

juice of half a lemon

For tempering the chutney:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/3 teaspoon of mustard seeds

a stalk of curry leaves (10-12 leaves)

To make the chutney, first place the coconut in a bowl and pour in some bowling water – it should reach the top of the coconut but not go over.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes.  After this, put it in a blender with the rest of the chutney ingredients and blend to a paste.

Heat the coconut oil in a small pan, throw in the mustard seeds and wait until they start to pop, then add the curry leaves and keep frying for a few seconds.  Tip this mixture into the blender and blend again to a paste.

Taste chutney for lemon, salt and sugar before serving. 

To make the curry, heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and fry the curry leaves, ginger and white parts of the chopped spring onions for a minute or two.  Throw in the peas (they can be fresh or frozen) and then add the chutney.  Fry for a few more minutes, stirring constantly, and then add the prawns.  Keep stir frying for about 30 seconds and start to add coconut milk.  Add up to half a tin of coconut milk or to taste – depending on how thick you want your curry.  Cook for a few more minutes only - don't let the prawns overcook.

Taste for salt and add some pepper and a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end if you fancy it.  Before serving, stir in the rest of the chopped spring onions (the green bits).  

Prawn and green pepper stir fry


I love getting my Nana's old dinner set out every now and then, and when I do I am generally inspired to cook something she would love.  I come from a seafaring family and we are all partial to a good prawn curry, but this quick stir fry was just as delicious.  The recipe below serves two, but can easily be doubled to suit.

1 tablespoon of oil

200-250 grams of prawns, cleaned and deveined

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 large tomato, finely sliced

½ a green pepper, finely sliced

2 teaspoons of bottle masala

½ a teaspoon of salt

½ a teaspoon of sugar

½ a lemon

spring onion and chopped red chillies to garnish

Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok and throw in the spring onions.  Fry for a minute or so and then add the tomatoes.  Stir-fry for a bit longer, and then add the bottle masala, salt and sugar.  Keep stirring until the tomatoes start to go mushy, then add the sliced green peppers.  After another minute or two, add the prawns and fry for a couple more minutes until they are just cooked.  Finish off with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with finely sliced spring onions and red chillies.  Serve with hot white rice and/or lots of crusty white bread.