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Do I have to use Tamarind in an Authentic Durban Fish Curry?

Last week I was craving a hot & spicy, Durban Fish Curry, so I popped down to Strand Beach and bought a fresh yellowtail that had just come in from the boats.

The guys filleted it for me, right there for R10, and I went home with two beautiful fillets of fresh fish.

When cooking a Durban Fish Curry, one need to make a ‘tomato chutney’ first, into which you then add the fish to cook for about 10 mins. (depending on what fish you use)

I was using Durban Curry Lovers, all-in-one Masala, so I did not need to add all the different spices.

To find a recipe which uses all the different spices, you can browse our collection of Fish & Seafood Curry Recipes.

As the tang which I was craving, just as much as the burn, requires the addition of Tamarind, I cooked the traditional Durban way and added Tamarind. I also added baby brinjal, which is a very popular, if not mandatory addition to Durban Fish Curry. (of course if you do not like it, just leave it out)

This is how it came out. Notice the beautiful dark hues from the Tamarind.

Durban Fish Curry WITH Tamarind

Anyway, to get to the point of this story. The day after, I had some fish left over that I had to use. I did not want to freeze it and after the delicious fish curry from the previous night, I was already craving another curry.

This time, I decided to make it without the Tamarind using the exact same recipe, just to test it with and without and see which I, and my family, preferred.

It came out beautifully, it was really enjoyable and the ‘burn’ was a bit more noticeable, as I guess ones senses are not competing with the tangy Tamarind and can concentrate on the beautiful spiciness.

Considering everything, I have to admit that I prefer it with some Tamarind, I like the little twang that it gives, but I have absolutely no complaints at all at how it came out without it.

So I guess that it comes down to personal choice, which is a wonderful thing.

Durban Fish Curry WITHOUT Tamarind

Here is the recipe and step by step instructions.


Durban Fish Curry with out Tamarind

  • Author: Shane
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Durban Curry
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • 1 kg Fresh/Frozen Fish pieces
  • 2 tsp Fresh Garlic
  • 6 Medium Tomatoes chopped
  • 2 Medium Onions Sliced
  • ½ cup Cooking Oil
  • 4 tbsp Durban Curry Lovers, All-in-One Masala  (about 30g)
  • 2 tbsp Tamarind Juice* (optional)
  • Fresh Curry Leaves and Coriander to Garnish


  1. Heat Oil to a medium heat and fry Onions until golden brown.
  2. Add a few curry leaves and split green chillies (optional)
  3. Add Durban Curry Lovers, All-in-One Masala and fresh Garlic, stir for 5 seconds.
  4. Add Tomatoes and cook on medium heat until tomatoes are halfway done and you can see the oil separate from the gravy (chutney)
  5. Add Salt to taste.
  6. Add pieces of Fish carefully setting them into the tomato gravy.
  7. Mix occasionally and very gently without turning or breaking the fish.
  8. Add some fresh dhania leaves and cook until the Tomatoes have reduced.
  9. Garnish with fresh curry leaves and coriander.


See here for more Fish & Seafood Curry Recipes.

Buy our amazing All-in-One Masala from our ONLINE STORE

Add Tamarind either between step 3-4 or 5 mins before the end, if you wish, or here are some recipes for Durban Fish Curry with Tamarind

Do you like Durban Crab Curry, here are some recipes.


Keywords: Durban fish curry, tamarind

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