Karwari Fish Curry

Karwari Fish Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

This post was meant to go up 2 days ago. First I fell ill and then came the devastating news of the Sydney terrorist hostage siege.

It has been an emotionally overwhelming 2 days. Terror strikes and terrorist attacks are not new; coming from India, I have indirectly experienced much bigger blood baths than this one. But blame it on the age; I have become much more sensitive to these kinds of incidents than before. I know it is a good thing to be more sensitive because it makes me feel more alive. But I also feel emotionally drained when life becomes a roll of dice, every single day. I kissed my husband and son goodbye in the morning today, like every other day…..but till they reach back home in the evening, I don’t know.

You might read this as a defeatist attitude; but no….I look more positive to life than ever before. But I need to write, to give vent to the fears that lie dormant inside me or I know the darkness would consume my being sending me down the stairwell of depression.

I have felt like this before, a long while ago, when a dear friend died rather too quickly…..a beautiful, vivacious girl who enjoyed life to its fullest. I questioned life then too, struggled with my spirituality…but common sense and an unshakeable faith in my Lord prevailed in the end keeping me sane.

And today’s dawn brings me the news of Pakistan’s blood bath. Over a 100 innocent children…..

Are we ever going to stop or are we going to kill ourselves to extinction?

#illridewithyou continues to make headlines on social media so why aren’t we practising it more in everyday life?

Yes, life goes on…which is why I decided to put up this post today. Returning to my semblance of normality but taking a moment here to pray for every single person who has been directly affected by these attacks.


Today’s recipe is a fish curry, from the region of Karwar, often referred to as the Kashmir of South India for its scenic beauty. With miles of unspoiled, picturesque blue beaches, tropical forests, hills and valleys, Karwar is a breathtakingly beautiful piece of land in Karnataka. If you would love to visit this region, then check out the details here.


Its close proximity to Goa has largely influenced the Karwari cuisine as symbolized by this Karwari fish curry. A generous use of coconut, seafood, tamarind, kokum are all part of the daily diet, enjoyed along with rice and feni (the drink of Goa!). And you can read more about the Karwari cuisine here.

This Karwari fish curry is a traditional preparation of the Karwar region, except that brown tamarind was used as the souring agent instead of kokum. But if you have kokum at home, go ahead and use it by all means. Again, mackerel is used traditionally but I would recommend this curry with just about any fish or even prawns.


Absolutely flavourful and best paired with boiled white rice; this Karwari fish curry is resplendent with the flavour and aroma of spices, aromatics and tamarind, all married together by the rich, creaminess of fresh coconut milk.

Recipe Courtesy – Tara Deshpande


1. 5 king mackerel, cut into medium-sized steaks (any fish can be used)
2. Salt, to season
3. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
4. 2 red onion, finely chopped
5. ½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled, julienned
6. 2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
7. 1-2 tsp tamarind paste
8. 400 ml thick coconut milk

For the spice paste:

9. 1 tsp coriander seeds
10. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
11. 8-9 black peppercorns
12. 8 dried red Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed
13. 1 tsp turmeric powder
14. 4 green chillies, roughly chopped
15. ½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled, grated
16. 2 tbsp roughly chopped white onion
17. 1 tsp flour

For garnish:

18. Juice of ½ a lime
19. 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves


• Wash the fish and drain thoroughly.
• Dry roast the whole spices for the spice paste in a skillet on medium heat for about 2 minutes, till fragrant.
• Switch off the heat, cool and stir the turmeric powder into the hot spices. Grind to a fine powder.
• Add the green chillies, ginger, onion and rice flour and grind again to a fine consistency…
• Heat oil in a deep pan or wok on medium heat. When hot, sauté the onions, ginger and green chillies for about 1-2 minutes, till the onions are lightly browned.
• Add the ground spice paste and tamarind paste and continue to sauté on low heat for another 1-2 minutes. Add the thick coconut milk, fish pieces and season with salt. Simmer for 5-8 minutes or till the fish is tender.
• Add lime juice and coriander leaves, mix and remove immediately from heat.
• Serve hot with plain, boiled, white rice and pappadums.



One thought on “Karwari Fish Curry

  1. I just love this! Delish and I must admit, your photography is beautiful too! Definitely going to give this a try in the kitchen! Having a child with allergies, this recipe actually does not actually contain anything he is allergic to, which means we can all enjoy this!


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