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Mrs Moodley’s Fish Curry Recipe

For those of us who absolutely love a fish, or any seafood curry, for that matter – this is a very special recipe, which I am sure has been perfected over many, many years.

Note from Sugen Moodley who shared the recipe on Facebook, “This is my Mums recipe.  I used a Natal Stumpnose of around 3.2kg which I caught.  You can use any available fish.”

  • 3.2kg fish
  • 5 large tomatoes- grated
  • 4 whole green chillies
  • 1/2 onion – diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon methi seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 + 1 teaspoons chilli powder. (see method)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind, diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
  • 200ml veg oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic


  • Fry the onions until they are soft and light brown.
  • Add all of the ingredients, except the fish, the chillies, 1 teaspoon of chilli power and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed garlic. (which we will add later)
  • Simmer on medium heat, then place the pieces of fish in the pot in a single layer.
  • Spoon the chutney over the fish. (Do not turn the fish over)
  • Taste and add salt to preference.
  • After about 5 minutes, transfer the fish to a plate with the cooked side up.
  • Repeat the process if you have any more pieces of fish.
  • Add the chillies and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, whilst stirring, allowing for the water to evaporate.
  • Once the oil rises to the surface, add the 1/2 teaspoon of crushed garlic and the 1 teaspoon of chillie powder which you reserved earlier.
  • Return the fish to the pot, with the uncooked side down.
  • Simmer on medium/low heat.
  • Traditionally, a sheet of newspaper is now placed over the pot, but you can use a lid. (just place it so that some steam can escape)
  • Do not use a spoon to stir, rather pick up the pot and gently tilt it to coat the fish with chutney every 2 to 3 minutes.
  • After 20 mins on low (3) the oil should be visible, most of the water would have evaporated.
  • Scrape the spoon in the open spaces, between the fish, to ensure it is not burning. (I like to use a wooded spatula)
  • Simmer on low (1) for a further 6 mins.
  • The oil should now be visible.
  • Garnish and enjoy!
sugen-fish-curry-recipe Natal Stumpnose caught by Sugen Moodley

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