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Mackerel Curry

One thing I know from my many visits to the southern parts of India, is that the people there love fish and seafood. The markets are filled with the very freshest examples caught daily in the Indian Ocean, and the restaurants offer a remarkable variety of dishes using the juiciest of prawns or a bewildering variety of fish.

This dish, based on one I sampled on my visits to the state of Kerala, is one of my favorites. The briny mackerel steaks hold up against a mildly spiced sauce that is creamy with the richness of coconut milk.

Keralan Style Mackerel by Simon Majumdar

Keralan-Style Mackerel Curry Recipe

(Serves About 4)



For the Mackerel Curry:

  • 4 x 4-oz Wild Mackerel Steaks

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil 

  • 1 White Onion (Diced)

  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Minced)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 3 Serrano Chili (Deseeded and Cut into Julienne)

  • 1 Teaspoon Tamarind Concentrate (Mixed with 2 Tablespoons Water)

  • 2 Tomatoes (Deseeded and Diced)

  • 2 Tablespoons Bangdyache Hooman Masala (See Recipe Below)

  • 1 13.5-oz. Can Coconut Milk

  • 10 Curry Leaves

  • 1/8 th Cup Cilantro Leaf (Rough Chop for Garnish)

For the Bangdyache Hooman Masala:

1 Teaspoon Coriander Seed

  • 1 Teaspoon White Mustard Seed

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

  • 1 Teaspoon White Pepper

  • 3 Cloves

  • 4 Kashmiri Red Chilis

  • 1 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seed


For the Bangdyache Hooman Masala:

  1. Take all the ingredients, dry toast, then grind.


For the Mackerel Curry:

  1. Sprinkle the mackerel steaks on both sides with a little turmeric and salt.

  2. Place the steaks in a bowl and leave them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

  3. Bring a large saucepan to a medium heat.

  4. Heat the oil.

  5. Add the onions.

  6. Season with salt and cook for 3-4 minutes.

  7. Add the ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  8. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  9. Add the chili and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  10. Add the tamarind and the tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  11. Add the Bangdyache Hooman Masala. Combine well and cook for 3-4 minutes.

  12. Add the coconut milk and combine well.

  13. Add the curry leaves.

  14. Cook the sauce for around 5- 8 minutes on a medium heat until it begins to thicken.

  15. Add the mackerel fillets.

  16. Simmer for around 15 minutes until the mackerel steaks are cooked.

  17. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with white rice.

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