Malay Snapper Fish Curry

Malay Fish Curry is a standout dish from Penang, widely known as Malaysia's top spot for food lovers. This curry mixes Middle Eastern and Indian spices with traditional Malay herbs, giving it a distinctive taste that captures the essence of Penang's diverse culinary scene. It's a perfect example of how local flavors can create a truly special meal, making Malay Snapper Fish Curry a must-try for anyone seeking to experience the real taste of this food paradise.


  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon mixed fenugreek seeds
  • 3-4 small shallots
  • 2 green chillies
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1-2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 tablespoons fish curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • A splash of water (for mixing with the spices)
  • About 1/4 cup tamarind juice
  • 300g-400g fish steaks (approximately from a medium size Snapper fish)
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk or 1/3 of a small carton of coconut milk
  • Salt, to taste
  • 10 okra pods
  • Coriander leaves (optional)

Cooking Instructions:


  1. Finely slice the shallots and roughly chop the garlic and ginger.
  2. Blend these roughly chopped ingredients until smooth.
  3. Halve the green chillies lengthwise and chop the tomato into large pieces.


  1. Pour cooking oil in a large pot and fry the mixed fenugreek seeds. Add the shallots next and cook until they turn golden.
  2. Introduce the green chillies, blended mixture, curry leaves, and tomato to the pot. Stir everything together until it emits a fragrant aroma and the tomatoes begin to soften.
  3. Create a thick spice paste by mixing the fish curry powder and chilli powder with a bit of water.
  4. Incorporate this spice paste into the pot, adding a bit more water to ensure all the spice residue is used. Cook until the curry starts to oil.
  5. Stir in the tamarind juice, gradually adding water two to three times more, allowing the spices to fully cook. This step ensures the curry acquires its proper taste.
  6. Place the fish steaks into the mixture and let them simmer until they are thoroughly cooked.
  7. Gently mix in the coconut milk and adjust the curry’s consistency with a little water if needed.
  8. Season with salt according to your preference.
  9. Add the okra and coriander stems (optional). Continue to simmer the curry until the okra is tender but still offers a bite.
  10. Once ready, serve the curry garnished with optional coriander leaves.

Additional Tips:

  • Tamarind juice contributes a crucial sourness to the curry, achievable by soaking tamarind pulp in warm water and straining the mixture.
  • Adding okra not only thickens the curry but also introduces a delightful texture; insert it towards the end of cooking to preserve its crunch.
  • While fresh coconut milk offers a richer flavour, a convenient alternative is the readily available carton or tin coconut milk, which also works well.

We hope these recipes bring as much joy to your table as they do to ours. Enjoy the cooking, the tasting, and the sharing with those near and dear. Your thoughts and experiences mean the world to us, so please take a moment to leave a review below.

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      Malay Snapper Fish Curry

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