31 August 2019 Lorraine 0Comment
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I think I must have called my mum every single time I made this Durban Fish Curry. She must think I am crazy but I have to constantly make sure I’m cooking it right. My blog name may be tamarind and thyme and yes I do add tamarind to my dishes but I don’t ever want to taste that sourness. My mum adds tamarind to this Durban Fish Curry which is a bit too sour for my liking. I definitely toned down the acidity, you can add some sugar or honey to your curry when adding tamarind.

Tamarind has a sour taste and my thinking is that it’s added to curries for the flavour. But I still think you have to make a plan to get rid of the sourness. Well my mum doesn’t think so. When my hubby first tasted my mum’s really sour Fish Curry he thought we were crazy even eating it. He absolutely refused to eat a fish curry thereafter.  That’s changed since I’ve started cooking the curry my way.

Simple FIsh Curry made with a few ingredients the Durban way

Living on the coast we had easy access to fresh seafood, including fish straight from the sea into our pots…well not exactly but you know what I mean.  Unfortunately here in Johannesburg we don’t always have access to fresh line fish. I am sometimes lucky to find some at our local Food Lovers Market. However, I only buy them if I can see that it is super fresh. For this Fish Curry it’s best to use fresh fish. However, I do sometimes use a firm white fish and it works fine. You just have to be careful not to overcook your fish.

Simple FIsh Curry made with a few ingredients the Durban way

As far as I can remember this Durban Fish Curry was always hot and spicy with a deep red colour.  Like most curries this fish curry also tastes better the day after it’s cooked. My Prawn Coconut Curry is also delicious but definitely tastes way better the next day.

The only way I eat this Fish Curry is with some fresh white bread, for me nothing else works. So if you want to serve it to your guests you better get some bread in the oven, trust me it’s the best.

Durban Fish Curry

A spicy fish curry cooked with a few ingredients the Durban way
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


  • 500 gram firm textured fish
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tspn mustard seeds
  • 3 large cloves garlic smashed and cut in half
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 3 very large roma tomatoes or 6 smaller ones makes 2 cups once blended
  • 1/4 tspn ground cumin
  • 1/4 tspn ground coriander
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric
  • 3 green chillies or less
  • 2 tspn kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp medium masala
  • 2 tspn tomato paste
  • 1 tspn tamarind you can add more
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tspn sugar or honey
  • salt
  • coriander for garnishing


  • Soak the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes. Rinse under cold water. Remove skin. Blend and set aside. Wash the fish and make a few tiny slits in each piece and set aside
  • Heat oil in a large flat pot. Sauté onion until it's golden brown
  • Add the garlic, chilli and curry leaf and fry for a minute
  • Add the chilli powder and masala and sauté for a minute
  • Add the tomatoes together with the ground cumin and coriander. Mix well and season with salt. Add the sugar or honey
  • Turn the heat down and simmer until the oil surfaces to the top, about 20 minutes
  • Mix the tamarind in 1/4 cup hot water and add it to the curry. You can use a strainer to get rid of any lumpy bits. Allow it to cook for 5 minutes
  • Add the fish but do not mix. You can baste the fish with the gravy. Cover and allow the fish to cook, about 5 to 8 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander
    Simple FIsh Curry made with a few ingredients the Durban way


  1. If you don't mind a sour tasting curry you can add more tamarind. 
  2. Depending on the heat of your masala and your palette you can add increase or decrease the amount of masala you use

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