Fish caldine

Fish caldine

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

This is a mild and creamy fish curry from Goa in spite of the long list of spices. If you do like the heat, add more than a couple of the dried chillies; I break them open and shake out the seeds before using. Or you can add a couple of red chillies to the oil before the onion to get some heat, then taste the sauce at any time and, if you find it has the right amount of heat, you can fish them out. Serve with rice.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 smallish onion, sliced
1-3 dried red chillies, seeds shaken out, (optional, see recipe introduction)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
16 black peppercorns
2 cloves
2cm cinnamon stick
2 heaped tablespoons white poppy seeds or ground almonds
6 fat garlic cloves, grated into a paste
10g ginger, peeled weight, grated into a paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt, to taste
320ml coconut milk, or more for a creamier curry
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, or to taste
450g fish steaks, or firm white fillets
handful chopped fresh coriander leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and fry until golden. At the same time, using a spice grinder, make a fine powder of the chillies, all the whole spices and the poppy seeds or almonds. You can do this in a mortar and pestle, but remember it must be a fine powder.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions and gently cook for a couple of minutes, until the raw smell of the garlic has disappeared. Add the spice powder, turmeric and salt and cook, stirring, for 40–50 seconds.
  3. Add the coconut milk, 350ml water and the tamarind paste. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for five minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the fish and cook until done, anything from four to eight minutes depending on whether they are fillets or steaks. The sauce should be light and creamy; add a little boiling water if it is too thick. Serve scattered with chopped coriander.
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