Fish Head Curry

    1 hour 30 mins

    I love the experience of eating fish head curry with my fingers and off banana leaves. If you're adventurous, try sucking the eyeballs! You can also use fish steaks instead of a fish head. Ready-blended fish curry powder is available at the supermarket or wet market.


    Central Region, Singapore
    46 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 1 fish head from ikan merah or garoupa
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
    • 1 (5 cm) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
    • 6 tablespoons fish curry powder mixed with 100ml water into a paste
    • 250ml coconut milk
    • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp soaked in 250ml hot water, and strained for tamarind water
    • 4 tomatoes, chopped
    • 4 ladies fingers, chopped
    • 2 brinjal, chopped
    • 3 large fresh red or green chillies, seeded and chopped
    • 5 curry leaves
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:45min proofing  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

    1. Wash the fish head and pat dry. Rub salt all over and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse the salt off.
    2. In a large wok, heat the ghee over medium heat until hot. Add the fenugreek and stir and cook until the seeds start to pop, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic and stir and cook until fragrant. Stir in the onions and cook for another minute.
    3. Reduce heat to low and add the curry paste. Stir-fry until the paste is fragrant and starts to darken, and the oil starts to ooze from the paste, about 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it!
    4. Add the tamarind water, 500ml water, coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients except the fish head. Season with sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Bring to a gentle boil and lower the fish head into the wok. Add more water if the gravy doesn't come at least halfway up the fish head. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the flesh is opaque and flakes off easily with a fork. Don’t overcook! Spoon the gravy over the fish head several times throughout cooking.
    6. When done, turn off the heat and let stand for about 15 minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve immediately with bread, roti prata or rice.

    Make ahead

    Undercook the fish head just a little bit. Just before serving, heat the curry gently for about 5 to 10 minutes until the flesh is fully cooked and serve immediately.

    Serving suggestion

    Instead of using plates, use banana leaves.

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