• Fish head curry is a specialty of Singapore. (Asia Unplated with Diana Chan)Source: Asia Unplated with Diana Chan

Fish heads have a surprising amount of meat and flavour. Once you cook them, you'll never want to let them go to waste! 






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (50 votes)


  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp fish curry powder (Baba's brand)
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste, mixed with 50 ml water
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 1 medium fish head
  • 6 snake beans, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • coriander leaves and steamed basmati rice, to serve

Curry paste

  • 150 g red Asian shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 30 g ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 30 g galangal, peeled and chopped
  • stalks lemongrass, white part only, chopped
  • 100 g chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 50 ml 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.


This recipe has been edited for accuracy and may differ from the program.

1. For the curry paste, place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz into a smooth paste.

2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Cook the eggplant wedges on both sides until golden and tender, then remove and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil to the pan, then add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves and cook, shaking the pan continuously until the mustard seeds start to pop.

4. Add the curry paste and curry powder and cook, stirring continuously for another 5-6 minutes or until darkened in colour and the oil starts to separate from the paste. Add the coconut cream, sugar, salt, tamarind paste and water and bring to the boil.

5. Add the fish head and beans, cover and simmer over low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Stir in the tomato and cooked eggplant, remove from the heat and serve scattered with coriander leaves and steamed rice.


Diana Chan is exploring the many dishes of Asia within Australia in the brand-new series, Asia Unplated with Diana Chan.