This Indonesian fish curry is really delicious. With this recipe be sure to cook out the spice paste well so that all flavours intensify. Don't stir it too much once it is cooked because the fish can really break up.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (58 votes)


  • 2 tbsp generic curry powder blend
  • 2 salam leaves (see Note)
  • 2 kg diced fresh tuna
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • steamed rice, to serve


  • 6 red bird's-eye chillies
  • 2 pieces fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 8 golden eschalots
  • 10 candlenuts
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 cm knob galangal, peeled
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) palm oil
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, smashed and left whole

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 30 minutes

For the paste, place all the ingredients except 125 ml (½ cup) of the palm oil and the lemongrass into a spice grinder or food processor and blend to a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining palm oil in a wok over high heat. Add the paste and lemongrass and cook for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the curry powder and salam leaves, then add the tuna and gently stir, making sure the tuna doesn’t break up.

Add the coconut cream, season to taste and bring to the boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and stand for 30 minutes before serving with steamed rice.


• Salam leaves are Indonesian bay leaves. You can substitute with curry leaves or bay leaves.