Sri Lankan Style Fish Curry ( With Tamarind & Coconut Milk)

Fish has become a staple diet in my house, ever since we decided to cut down on red meat in our family menu. This change in our diet, meant that I had to be creative and cook different type of fish curries and dishes to make it more interesting. Since spicy food dictates our menu,  therefore, this Sri Lankan Style Fish Curry was perfect  as it combines the exotic flavors of tamarind, coconut milk and chillies. One of the secret of this curry is the Sri Lankan Curry Powder which is made of roasted dry spices. If you don’t get it ready made, then you can make it at home very easily as I did.The recipe for the Curry Powder is posted under Sri Lankan Curry Powder. Enjoy 🙂 …. Happy Cooking ! ~ Kamakshi

Prep Time : 15 mins                                                                  Cook Time : 30 mins
Serves : 4


  • 1 Kg, Fish of your choice, cut into steaks
  • 1 tsp Turmeric (Haldi) Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 4-5 tbsp Oil for pan frying
  • Salt

For the Curry :

  • 2 Medium Onions, finely diced or made into a paste
  • 3-4 Tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 Green Chillies, slit and cut into two
  • 2 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric ( Haldi) Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek (Methi) seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard (Rai) seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 400 ml Coconut Milk
  • 10 fresh Curry Leaves
  • 1 walnut size Tamarind ball, soaked in 1/2 cup water or 1 Tbsp Tamarind Paste diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • Salt as per taste
  • Chopped Green Coriander/ Cilantro  and lemon wedges for garnish


  • Sprinkle the turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt over the fish pieces and coat them well with the spices. Heat oil in a pan and when the oil become hot, slide the fish pieces into the hot oil and let it cook quickly on each side till it turns golden brown. Drain on paper towels and repeat till all the pieces are fried.
  • In a large pan , heat 2 tbsp of oil .Add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and green chillies  and stir fry for about 15-20 secs. Then add the onion paste, ginger and garlic paste and fry till the onion paste become light brown in color.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves, turmeric, chilli powder, curry powder and salt and fry for couple of minutes on low heat, till the oil starts separating from the mixture. Add the tamarind juice ( when the tamarind is soaked in water, it softens. Using  you hands squeeze the pulp and throw the cover and the seeds) and   cook for 5-6 minutes . By this time, you will have a nice rich gravy.
  • Now pour the coconut milk into the gravy, lower the heat and bring to boil. Simmer till the gravy thicken a bit. Gently add the fried fish pieces into the curry, cover the  dish and let the fish simmer in the gravy for 10 -15 mins on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice and lemon wedges.