Spice Island: Fish Curry

The tiny Southeast Asian island-country of Singapore owes much of its history and ethnically diverse cuisine to piquant spices and herbs.

| October/November 2002

Fish Curry 


This spicy curry was created fifty years ago by a cook who came to Singapore from southern India. It has become one of the most popular local dishes in Singapore, where it’s prepared with the sweet meat of the fish head, which is considered a delicacy.


• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2-inch piece of gingerroot
• 1-inch piece of turmeric root (or 1/2 teaspoon dried, powdered turmeric)
• 1 teaspoon dried lemongrass (or 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, sliced)
• 1 to 2 bird-eye chiles (any Thai chile or fresh serrano chiles may be substituted)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon water
• 2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (mild to medium)
• 2 cups light coconut milk
• 1 cup water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 2/3 pound red snapper cut into 1-inch chunks (other firm fish such as orange roughy, sea bass, mahi mahi, or Alaskan pollock may be substituted)
• Pulp and juice of 1 lime
• 6 okra, sliced
• 1/2 eggplant, cut into cubes (or 1 whole Japanese eggplant)
• 1 zucchini, sliced
• 3 carrots, sliced
• 1 green bell pepper, sliced
• 1 tomato, diced

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