Rick Stein’s Madras Fish Curry of Snapper, Tomato and Tamarind recipe

In Rick Stein’s India, published by BBC Books, the award-winning chef creates delicious dishes with sensual spicy aromas and creamy sauces. One such dish that has caught our eye is this Madras Fish Curry of Snapper, Tomato and Tamarind, which is perfect for a weekend get-together as it's so easy to make. Follow Rick Stein's recipe here...

Rick Stein Madras Fish Curry of Snapper, Tomato and Tamarind recipe 

Rick Stein has used the snapper fish that was used when he first tasted this curry in Mamallapuram, but you can use other fishes too. "I recommend using any of the following: monkfish fillet, because you get firm slices of white, meaty fish; filleted bass, preferably a large fish, because although you’ll get softer flesh it has plenty of flavour; or gurnard," says Rick. "I think more than anything else that this dish typifies what I say about really fresh fish not being ruined by a spicy curry. I can still remember the slightly oily flavour of the exquisite snapper in that dish because fish oil, when it’s perfectly fresh, is very nice to eat. I always think oily fish goes well with curry anyway, particularly with the flavours of tomatoes, tamarind and curry leaves."


Serves 4-6 

60ml vegetable oil

1 tbsp yellow

mustard seeds

1 large onion, finely chopped

15g/3 cloves garlic, finely crushed

30 fresh curry leaves

2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp turmeric

400g can chopped tomatoes

100ml Tamarind liquid

2 green chillies, each sliced lengthways into 6 pieces, with seeds

1 tsp salt

700g snapper fillets, cut into 5cm chunks

Boiled basmati rice


Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds, then stir in the onion and garlic and fry gently for about 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden.

Add the curry leaves, chilli powder, coriander and turmeric and fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, tamarind liquid, green chillies and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes until rich and reduced.

Add the fish, cook for a further 5 minutes or until just cooked through, and serve with plain rice.

[Recipe taken from Rick Stein’s India - BBC Books]

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor