Boatmans curry

One of the most amazing experiences of my life was sailing down the Kerala back waters on a rice boat. Fish are plentiful in this region and often on the menu. This fish curry has evolved from a number of recipe sources. It makes a quick and easy supper.


  • 750g fish or seafood (white fish, oily fish, prawns, crab, it all works) in bite-sized chunks
  • onion (medium)
  • large garlic cloves
  • thumb sized piece fresh ginger
  • 2 hot red chillies (dried or fresh)
  • 2 tbsps ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coarse salt (or to taste)
  • spring onion


Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Peel ginger and chop finely. Wearing protective gloves, break chillies into 1-inch pieces and reserve, along with any seeds.

Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large, heavy based pan until hot but not smoking and cook mustard seeds until they begin to pop. Stir in onion, garlic, gingerroot, reserved chiles with seeds, and peppercorns and cook, stirring, until chiles are just browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the other spices until well combined.

Add the fish, gently stirring occasionally (avoid breaking up), about 4 minutes.

While this is cooking, chop the coriander and stir into the curry along with the coconut milk. Simmer until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Spoon curry over rice or greens and garnish with spring onions and more coriander leaves.

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Servings: 4

Source: Various

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