Kitchen by TILAH

Jah's Daughter Indian Fish Curry (Kari Ikan India Anak Jah)

Curries...I love them!! As I am up to something fishy again yesterday, I cooked fish curry. Indian Fish Curry. My version. Not that there are much difference in the ingredients used but as some of us already know, there are so many ways and styles to cook curry. Cook it with meat, chicken, fish or seafood. Have it the Chinese, Malay, Indian or even Peranakan style. It is due to these preferences and variations that the ingredients and cooking style slightly differs.

One common thing would be that most prefer their curry hot and spicy. I am no exception. However, I am forced to curb the heat in my pot after marrying my husband who cannot take spicy food.

In my personal experience of curry cooking, I realised that a key ingredient would give that extra aroma that lingers on the nose whenever your curry is simmering. That key ingredient is curry leaves. More specially so, if it is fish or seafood curry!! You can cook fish or seafood curry without curry leaves just like when you cook meat or chicken curry, but the aroma and taste will never be the same if you were to add that curry leaves into your pot whilst sautéing the spices. It is as if you could taste the curry even before it reaches your palate.

My father is an Indian by race. My mum is a Bugis (still within the Malay community though her ancestors were from Majapahit, Indonesia) who used to work as a housekeeper in her younger days for an Indian Muslim family. Her employer's wife named Khatijah, who shares the same name as my mother, was a great cook. My mother picked up her cooking skills from her.

Basically, my curry cooking skills did not really wander far off from that which my mother had taught me but I sometimes cook my fish curry just a slightly bit different to add my own personal touch to it. I guess I could now call it my own! *HAHA* Yes! If there is Tilah's Mum Chicken in Red Gravy, there can also be Jah's Daughter Indian Fish Curry!!

Anyway, let's get to the ingredients.

1 large onion - finely sliced
3 cloves garlic - finely sliced
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 spoon of fish seasoning spice ("halba campur" or "rempah tumis ikan" in Malay)
2 tomatoes - cut into smaller pieces
2 tomatoes - cut into fours
10 pieces of threadfin ("ikan kurau" in Malay) or any other fish of your choice
3 brinjals - halved lengthwise and cut into twos
8 lady's fingers - diagonally cut into twos (tip - wash it first and cut only when you are about to cook or fry to prevent leaking slime)
1/2 teacup - coconut milk
5 green chillies - halved lengthwise and cut into twos (add more if you like it hot and spicy)
1 small bowl of tamarind juice from a handful of tamarind (I used more cos I like it more sourish)
2 bowls of water
1 spoon sugar
salt to taste

(*items to be blended with a little water in a food processor to form a paste)
2 large onions*
8 shallots*
6 cloves garlics*
2cm ginger*

(**to be mixed into a paste with water)
5 tablespoons of fish curry powder** (I used House Brand)
1 tablespoon of chilli powder** (add more if you like it hot and spicy)


1. Heat oil in pot and sauté the sliced onions, and garlics for about three minutes.

2. Add in the curry leaves and fish seasoning and continue to sauté till fragrant.

3. Add in the small cut tomatoes.

4. Continue to sauté until the tomatoes get mushy.

5. Add in the curry and chilli powder paste as well as the blended ingredients.

6. Continue to sauté until oil separates.

7. Once you see oil collecting at the top of your sautéing mix, oil has separated.

8. Now, add in the tamarind juice, water, sugar and salt. Simmer for a minute.

9. Add in coconut milk and bring to a boil.

10. Add in fish.

11. Add in lady's fingers.

12. Add in brinjals.

13. Add in green chillies.

14. Simmer for three to five minutes over high fire.

15. Add in tomatoes and simmer for another two to three minutes over medium fire.

16. Off the fire and your fish curry is ready to be served.

Happy Kitchen-ing!!


Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Assalamualaikum Sis Tilah... ur quantity for 'mangkuk' is how much??... Thanks Fatimah...
Tilah Maricar said…
Salam Sis Fatimah, sorry for the late reply. I am very occupied lately with some personal matters. So i only reply to comments when i manage to access my emails.

The quantity, estimated would be about 500ml to 750ml maybe. I never measure the amount of water actually. It basically depends on how concentrated or diluted you prefer the curry to be. Remember to add little water first then taste as you go along if you are new at it. If needed, then add more water.

Hope that helps. Happy Kitchen-ing!!

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