Like all curries, this recipe begins with a great curry paste. The heat in this Malaysian dish comes from the chillies in the paste as well as the Vietnamese mint, which is peppery. Tamarind concentrate takes care of the sour component.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (46 votes)


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) water
  • 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate (see Note)
  • ¼ cup hot (Vietnamese) mint leaves (see Note)
  • ¼ pineapple, cut into 3 cm cubes 
  • 400 g blue-eye cod (trevalla) fillet, cut into 4 cm pieces
  • 18 okra, trimmed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • steamed rice, to serve

Spice paste

  • 4 large dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 4 long red chillies, sliced
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk , white part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp dried shrimp paste (belacan) (see Note)
  • 4 cm piece turmeric, chopped or ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp water

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.


To make spice paste, process all ingredients in a food processor to a smooth paste, adding more water if necessary.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook spice paste for 6 minutes or until aromatic and starting to brown, and the oil separates from the paste. Add the water, tamarind, mint and pineapple, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Add fish and okra, and simmer for 5 minutes or until fish is just cooked. Season with the salt. Serve with steamed rice.


• Tamarind concentrate is available from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops.

• Hot (Vietnamese) mint and dried shrimp paste are available from Asian food shops and selected greengrocers.

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg55.

Photography by Chris Chen