• Fish vindaloo (Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under)Source: Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under

I've used silver cobbler, a freshwater catfish, in this recipe but the curry works well with any firm-fleshed white fish. This makes more curry paste than you need, but it freezes well.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (33 votes)



  • 3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp vindaloo curry paste
  • 200 ml cold water
  • 8 small green chillies
  • 800 g silver cobbler (freshwater catfish) fillet, portioned
  • coconut or white wine vinegar, to taste


Vindaloo curry paste

  • 40 g dried red Kashmiri chillies
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1½ tsp cloves
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) fresh root ginger
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp piece of tamarind pulp, without seeds
  • 1 tsp light soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

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.


Soaking time: overnight

  1. For the curry paste, cover the dried chillies with plenty of hot water, keep them submerged under a small plate and leave to soak overnight. The next day, pre-heat the oven to 230C and place the unpeeled onion on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 1 hour, until the centre is soft and nicely caramelised. After cooked, then peel off the skin.
  2. Drain the chillies and squeeze out the excess water. Grind the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Put the chillies, roasted onion, ground spices, ginger, garlic, tamarind pulp, sugar and vinegar into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
  3. For the curry, heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onions and fry until they are richly browned. Keep adding water to deglaze the caramelisation from the pan, cooking for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Add the vindaloo curry paste and cook out for 2 minutes then add the tomatoes and cook together for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the water and leave the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then. Meanwhile, slit the green chillies open along their length and scrape out the seeds, leaving them whole. Season the cobbler with salt and add them to the sauce with the chillies. Simmer for 10 minutes, carefully turning the fish every now and then, until it is cooked through.
  6. Add some vinegar and salt to taste and serve with some pilau rice.


Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under airs on SBS Food (Channel 33). Check The Guide for the schedule. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand.