Striking the perfect balance between decadent and light is the fish curry. This one's made from Australia's favourite, barramundi. Just be sure to choose farmed fish for a more sustainable dinner.






Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)


  • 1 kg barramundi on the bone, cut into 6 steaks about 7 cm-thick
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt, to taste
  • mustard oil, for deep–frying (or whatever oil you prefer)

‘Cheat’s’ Kashmiri garam masala

  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
  • ½ tsp whole black peppercorns


  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 500 g tomatoes, diced
  • 5 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (hing)

To serve

  • steamed basmati rice
  • 1 bunch coriander, to garnish
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 4 radishes, sliced

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.


  1. Place the barramundi in a large bowl, sprinkle over the turmeric and a good pinch of salt, toss to coat and stand for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, for the ‘cheats’ garam masala, toast all the spices in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Remove from the heat, stand until cool, then grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grind into a fine powder.
  3. For the sauce, heat the mustard oil in a heavy–based saucepan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Take off the heat and add the bay leaf, cardamom and cumin seeds, followed by the diced tomatoes. Return to a medium-high heat, add the remaining ingredients and 1 teaspoon of the garam masala and stir until fragrant. Reduce the heat to low–medium and simmer, stirring regularly until the tomatoes collapse and form a thick sauce.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil for deep–frying in a large saucepan to 160°C. Deep-fry the fish, a few pieces at a time, until golden. Set aside.
  5. Stir another teaspoon of garam masala to the sauce and 185 ml (¾ cup) water. Taste and season with salt. Add the fried fish pieces, cover and simmer over low for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is tender. If the sauce thickens too much add a little more water. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the fish on a bed of steamed rice, pour the sauce over the top, then scatter with coriander and serve with cucumber and radish on the side. 


Delve into the diversity of Indian cuisine with India Unplated, Thursdays 8pm on SBS Food.


Photography by Andrew Dorn.