Fish Curry (in a hurry!)

Fish curry

Fish Curry from the Hairy Dieters’ Fast Food book is a sumptuous hot and sour one-pan treat which can be prepped and cooked in about half an hour. It may seem like a lot of ingredients but they are mainly just spices which combine to produce a gorgeous and distinctive flavour.

The Hairy Dieters suggest using hake or tilapia (I’ve never heard of this fish before), but I’ve previously used cod on the occasions I’ve made this recipe. It probably isn’t as ‘firm’ as the other two but it works well for me. My local Co-Op frequently discounts cod fillets towards the end of the day so I pop them in the freezer and defrost them when I’m ready to rustle this meal up at a bargain cost.

This is a brilliant meal to do if you’re following a 5:2 diet (just 226 calories per serving), and even if you’re not and want to enjoy an extra helping (I have been known to!) then it’s still only going to set you back 452 calories!

Recipe: Fish Curry

Calories: 226 per serving

Serves: 4

Book: The Hairy Dieters Fast Food

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: Approx 20 mins


  • 1 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 10g fresh root ginger (finely chopped)
  • 4 medium tomatoes or 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder or 2 tsp sweet paprika and 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 300ml hot fish stock or water
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste,
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp caster sugar (optional)
  • 600g skinned firm white fish fillets (hake or tilapia)
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx *£3.14 *cost based on Tesco prices – December 2022

Method: Heat the oil in a large shallow pan. You need one that has a lid and is wide enough to take all the fish in one layer. Add the onions and stir to coat them with the oil. Cover the pan and leave the onions over a low heat for 5 minutes to start softening while you prepare the garlic and ginger.

If using fresh tomatoes, remove the cores, then blitz them in a blender and set aside.

Add the garlic and ginger to the onions and cook for a further minute. Sprinkle the spices into the pan and stir briefly to combine. Add the hot fish stock or water and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and tamarind paste. Bring the curry to the boil, the turn down the heat and leave to cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Add the lime juice, then taste the curry and it seems a little too sour, add the sugar. Cut the fish into large chunks and sit these on top of the sauce, pressing them down very lightly. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve at once.


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