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Punjabi Halibut Curry – Traditional Indian Fish Curries Are Packed With Flavour


Indian Fish Curries - Halibut

An easy and delicious traditional curry

Indian fish curries are best cooked the traditional way.


I find it sad that there are not many Indian restaurants that offer Indian fish curries on their menus. Last week I went to a restaurant in Newcastle – which by the way I will never go to again – and was surprised to see a few Indian fish curries on offer. Both my wife and I ordered fish but were unfortunately very disappointed.

The fish was swimming in the same curry gravy that our kids’ chicken tikka masala and chicken madras were in. Most Indian restaurants do use curry gravy as a base to prepare their curries but personally I don’t feel these gravies go well with the delicate flavour of fish.

What a let down to what we thought would be such a nice experience!


It just goes to show that if you like Indian fish curries, you have to cook them the traditional way.


I love Indian fish curries! Freshly caught fish cooked into a delicious blend of aromatic spices and herbs is so mouth-wateringly good. I have written quite a few recipes based on the cooking methods and ingredients from the different parts of India and this curry is very similar to what you might find in the Punjab region.

To make it taste even more amazing, be sure to use only the freshest ingredients and to roast and grind your own spices. Believe me, roasting your own spices makes a huge difference to the end dish. If you must, however you could use store bought pre-ground spices. This is much faster and easier.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes


800g halibut – Cut into small 50g pieces
5 Tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
5 cloves
The seeds from 3 black cardamoms
1 two inch piece of cinnamon
7 cloves of garlic – smashed
20 cashews – smashed into a paste with a little water
1 inch piece of ginger – finely chopped
2 green chilli peppers – Or more to taste – finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 heaping tablespoon cumin seeds
1 heaping tablespoon coriander seeds
1 Tablespoon garam masala
200ml chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves



In a dry frying pan, roast your cumin, cardamom seeks and coriander seeds over medium heat. The spices will begin to smoke after a minute or so. Move them around in the pan so that they roast evenly and then remove from the heat.

Grind the roasted spices in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar to a fine powder and set aside.

Now add the ghee to a large saucepan and throw in the cloves, and cinnamon. Let fry over medium heat for about a minute and then add the chopped onion.

Fry the onion until it turns translucent and lightly browned.

Using a blender or pestle and mortar, pulverize the garlic, ginger and cashews to a paste. I prefer using a pestle and mortar to do this.

By the way, it is a Western myth that garlic and ginger need to be peeled. Leave the peeling on. It add both flavour and vitamins to the end dish.

Add the garlic, ginger and cashew paste to the chopped onion in the pan and then throw in the turmeric, chilli powder, green chillies, the cumin and coriander powder and the chopped tomatoes.

Pour in about 250ml (one cup) of water and bring to a light simmer.

Stir well and then place the halibut on top of the sauce, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.


You can serve Indian fish curries like this on their own or with rice or naan.


I’d really like to hear how you enjoyed this or any of the Indian fish curries on my site. Be sure to leave a comment about the Indian fish curries – yours or mine – that you really like.

9 Responses to “Punjabi Halibut Curry – Traditional Indian Fish Curries Are Packed With Flavour”

  1. Gill S. says:

    I agree with you that fish curries need to be made the traditional way. I’ll give this one a try! Coincidentally, I was just at a Punjabi cookery class tonight, where a wonderful Punjabi lady taught us her grandmother’s own recipe for fresh fish curry, including lots of tips on seasonings and “secret” spices. It was fascinating and definitely something everyone should do!

    I’d be interested in which Newcastle restaurant you went to, as I lived there for a number of years and frequented many. :-)

    Thanks for this (and other) articles. Always good to get new ideas!

  2. Sukhwinder says:

    I tried your recipe man… Was great.. Had good time cooking n eating.

    Thank you for sharing it.

    • Dan Toombs says:

      And thank you very much for trying it. I’m really glad you liked the recipe. I have many more Punjabi and fish recipes coming up in 2012. Keep in touch and Happy New Year to you.


  3. Jasmine says:

    wud be making this dish tonight for mom n dad..lets see…how it turns out to be

  4. Gillis_42 says:

    Outstanding!.. Made this for my friends with some cheap, frozen basa fish and it blew us away.. I haven’t had a fish curry this good since I was in South India.

    Cheers, Matt

  5. Alex says:

    Delicious! I didn’t have black cardamom so used green – otherwise followed the recipe fairly closely (as you do). I will definitely make this again. Thanks.

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