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Sour curry of barramundi

This South East Asian-style curry has a tangy sour flavour from tamarind and amchur, dried green mango powder. The use of a little stock makes it quite a light curry and the flavour of the fish really shines.

You'll need

1 onion, finely chopped 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil 40 gm (¼ cup) finely grated fresh coconut 2 tsp amchur (see note) 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves, plus extra to serve 375 ml (1½ cup) fish or chicken stock, or water 1 small piece cassia bark 4 barramundi fillets (180gm each), skin on 2½ tbsp tamarind extract (see note), or to taste For seasoning: lime juice, plus extra wedges to serve To serve: small green chillies and steamed basmati or long-grain rice   Spice paste 1 tsp each coriander and cumin seeds ½ tsp each fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds ¼ tsp each black peppercorns, cloves and cardamom seeds 35 gm ginger, coarsely chopped 10 gm fresh turmeric, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped 1 tsp each paprika and ground Kashmiri chilli (see note)


  • 01
  • For spice paste, dry-roast whole spices until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Cool briefly, then pound with a mortar and pestle until finely ground, add remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt, and pound to a smooth paste.
  • 02
  • Sauté onion in oil in a wok over high heat until tender and starting to caramelise (8-10 minutes). Add spice paste and stir until fragrant and toasted (1-2 minutes). Add coconut, amchur and curry leaves, stir to combine, then add stock and cassia bark, and season well with salt. Bring to the boil, add fish, reduce heat to low and simmer, turning occasionally, until fish flakes easily (4-6 minutes). Season to taste with tamarind, lime and salt, and serve with rice, chillies and lime wedges.

Note Tamarind extract is best made fresh. To make 80ml extract, combine 1 tbsp tamarind pulp with 100ml hot water, and stand until pulp softens. Break up the pulp in the water with the back of a spoon and strain through a coarse sieve. Amchur and ground Kashmiri chilli are available from Indian grocers and online from

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Off-dry fragrant riesling.

Featured in

Jul 2015

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