A mild, child-friendly fish dish that doesn’t take too much cooking and yet still has some genuine depth of flavour? Easy enough if you steal a Madhur Jaffrey recipe* and simplify it a little.Simple fish curry

I’m not kidding on the “mild” — grown-ups are going to need some pickle or chili sauce. But that’s okay, you get a meal that’s very healthy, a great source of protein, and perfect for the whole family to enjoy.


You will need:

  • 1kg frozen fish
  • 2 large onions, chopped in fine half-rings
  • 1 tbsp finely diced ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely diced garlic
  • Spices (all heaped spoonfuls):
    • 1 tbsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 3 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Fresh coriander to garnish


First, heat a generous amount of oil over a high flame, and fry the onions, stirring frequently, until they turn red. This will take around 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the ginger and garlic, and fry for a further 2 minutes. Then add the spice mix and fry for one more minute.

RawCookedCooked and tasty

Now add the tomatoes and half a pint of water (by rinsing the tins), and add a teaspoon of sugar, another of salt, and two teaspoons of vinegar (don’t overdo the vinegar). Simmer covered for an hour, then uncover and allow to thicken. This is important: there won’t be much opportunity to reduce the sauce any further, without overcooking the fish.

More simmer, more flavourQuite wateryA bit thicker

This sauce can sit for a while if you make it in advance. When it’s almost time to eat, add the fish, and ensure that it is covered with the sauce. Simmer gently until the fish is cooked — this will take around 15 minutes for frozen white fish, less for fresh. Stir gently to break the pieces up into flakes (or don’t, if you want the pieces to stay whole).

Add the fishCook the fishBash the fish

Overcooked fish doesn’t make anyone happy, so serve immediately. A garnish of chopped fresh coriander brings out the flavour. Serve with rice, vegetables, yoghurt and pickles (a sweet brinjal pickle works well).

Fish curry: done.

* I’d link to the recipe if she put them online, but she doesn’t. This is Patia (Fish in a Dark Sauce) from her book A Taste Of India.