Tamarind Fish Curry (Traditional Recipe)

Dive into the rich flavors of Southern India with this fast and flavorful tamarind fish curry from Andhra Pradesh. Ready in just 45 minutes, including the tamarind soaking time, it’s a popular choice for anyone looking to add a tangy twist to their meals.

Tamarind Fish Curry in a bowl.

Step by Step Video Instructions


Masala Paste Ingredients:

  • Cumin Seeds: These seeds lay the aromatic groundwork with their earthy and slightly bitter notes.
  • Fenugreek Seeds: Known for their slightly bitter and nutty taste, they add depth. If unavailable, mustard seeds could serve as a backup.
  • Coriander Seeds: Offering a lemony citrus note, they add to the masala’s complexity. In a pinch, ground coriander can be used.
  • Garlic: Adds a pungent depth and aroma to the paste.

Tamarind Water Components:

  • Tamarind: The soul of the curry, providing its signature tangy flavor.
  • Water: Melds with the tamarind pulp to extract its flavor.


  • Oil: A neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil is preferred for its high smoke point, ensuring spices fry without burning.
  • Red Onion: Offers sweetness; white onion can be a milder substitute if preferred.
  • Green Chilies: Introduce a mild heat, adjustable according to your spice preference.
  • Curry Leaves: Adds a unique, fragrant note. If fresh curry leaves are unavailable, you can also use frozen curry leaves.
  • Tomato Puree: Pureed fresh tomato gives acidity and body. In a pinch, canned tomato puree works well, though with a slightly cooked taste.
  • Salt, Turmeric Powder, and Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: These staples add seasoning, color, and a gentle heat. Adjust according to taste and spice preference.
  • White Fish: Catfish is traditionally used, but any fresh, firm white fish like cod or halibut is works well.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Offers a fresh, herbal garnish that brightens the dish’s finish.
Tamarind Fish Curry in a pot.

Expert Tips

Tamarind: For the richest tamarind infusion, really work the pulp with your hands, ensuring you extract as much flavor as possible. If you have time and prefer a stronger flavor you could also leave the tamarind to infuse for longer.

Balancing Flavors: The acidity of the tamarind is an important flavor in this curry. However, if you find the tang overpowering, add a pinch of sugar to the curry while it simmers to help balance the flavors.

Storage and Leftovers

After enjoying the meal, let the tamarind fish curry cool down to room temperature. Then, store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they can be kept for up to 3 days.


  • Microwave: To quickly reheat curry, use the microwave. Heat the curry in short intervals and stir occasionally until it is hot throughout.
  • Stovetop: For those who prefer reheating on the stovetop, place the curry in a pan and heat it over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the curry is thoroughly heated.
Tamarind Fish Curry being stored in a bowl.


How can I make the curry less spicy while preserving its depth of flavor?

A practical way to control the heat without diminishing the curry’s vibrant taste is by removing the seeds and the membrane from the green chilies. These parts contain most of the capsaicin, which is responsible for the chili’s spiciness.

Can I prepare this curry in advance?

Yes, and it’s actually recommended! Preparing tamarind fish curry a day ahead allows the flavors to meld and deepen, enhancing the overall taste. The spices and tanginess of the tamarind develop beautifully overnight, resulting in a richer and more cohesive flavor profile.

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Tamarind Fish Curry being stored in a bowl.

Tamarind Fish Curry (Traditional Recipe)

Dive into the rich flavors of Southern India with this fast and flavorful tamarind fish curry from Andhra Pradesh. Ready in just 45 minutes, including the tamarind soaking time, it's a popular choice for anyone looking to add a tangy twist to their meals.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Soaking Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 271 kcal


Ingredients for Masala Paste:

  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 4 cloves Garlic approx. 15g

For the Tamarind Water:

  • 50 g Tamarind
  • 300 ml Water

For the Curry:

  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 45 g Red Onion finely chopped
  • 2 Green Chilies deseeded and sliced in half
  • 10-15 Curry Leaves
  • 1 Medium Tomato pureed (approx. 85g)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 500 g White Fish cut into pieces
  • Fresh Cilantro for garnish


  • Soak the tamarind in water for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind to release its flavors, then strain the mixture into a container and discard the pulp.
  • In a small blender, combine cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and coriander seeds. Blend until it becomes a fine powder. Add the garlic cloves and continue blending to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté curry leaves until they begin to crisp. Add chopped red onion and green chilies to the pan. Cook until onions are translucent. Stir in the tomato puree, followed by salt, turmeric powder, and Kashmiri red chili powder. Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the oil begins to separate.
  • Add the prepared masala paste into the pan, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes. Pour in the tamarind water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the fish pieces to the sauce, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Season the tamarind fish curry with additional salt if needed and garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.


Calories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 26gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 77mgPotassium: 593mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 362IUVitamin C: 57mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Tamarind Fish Curry
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