Fish korma is a type of Indian fish curry that can range from being mild to spicy depending on the type of spices used.
Indian fish curries are made using chunky fish steaks with bones as opposed to fillets.
This korma fish recipe involves few parts for you to make. Although easy you will need to make each component of the recipe one by one.
The cooking notes and step by step method below explain each part.
Ingredients For Korma Fish
For making this Indian fish dish I used Rohu fish, which is a type of fish belonging to the carp family and found in South-Asian rivers.
It is a sweet water fish as opposed to sea water fish. They are firm, with bones and a mild sweet flavour.
For making this recipe you will need the following ingredients.
⇒ Any white firm fish such tilapia, haddock, snapper, cod, flounder. The fish should ideally be cut into steaks but fillets do ok as well.
⇒ 1 onion
⇒ an inch of ginger
⇒ 4 pods of garlic
⇒ 10- 15 cashewnuts
⇒3 tbsp of sunflower oil or coconut oil
⇒ salt to taste
⇒ 2 green cardamoms (click here for uses & benefits)
⇒ 5 black peppercorn ( Click here for uses and benefits )
⇒ 4 cloves ( Click here for uses and benefits )
⇒ 1/2 inch cinnamon stick ( Click here for uses and benefits )
⇒1 bay leaf ( Click here for uses and benefits )
⇒ 1 tsp ground turmeric ( Click here for uses and benefits )
⇒1- 2 tsp red chilli powder
⇒ 3 tsp of poppy seeds.
⇒ 2 green chillies
You do not need to have poppy seeds and green chillies but they add extra flavour and creaminess to the korma sauce.
⇒ Alternative to cashewnut paste or poppy paste – Use almond powder as an alternative to cashewnut paste or poppy paste.
⇒ For dairy free option use coconut milk instead of cream.
Step by Step Method with Images
Prepare the separate components of the Fish Korma recipe into parts.
PART 1 – Marinade and Fry Fish
This is an optional step, you do not need to fry fish if using boneless fish or soft fish.
Marinade fish with turmeric and salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
Shallow fry the fish in 3 tablespoons of oil and set aside.
PART 2 – Make Cashew and Poppy Paste
Make cashew and poppy seeds paste ( read notes or ingredients section above for alternatives to cashew paste).
Soak cashew nuts and poppy seeds in water for 15 minutes and make a smooth paste. Set aside.
PART 3 – Make the Onion Tomato Masala
This is the step that makes the base sauce
Heat oil and stir fry, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper corn in oil for 40 secs. Then add onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes and fry for 5- 7 minutes until glossy.
Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, cool, add a little water and blend into a paste. Set aside.
PART 4 – Make Korma Gravy
This is the last step on making the korma base
Heat oil in a pan, add a bay leaf. Next add the cashew paste and stir fry with water for upto 5 minutes.
Add the onions paste and red chilli powder to the cashew and continue to fry for another 3 minutes, adding water from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add water to the cashew, onion masala and bring to boil.
Add the fish pieces to the boiling masala and cover and cook for 5- 8 mins until fish is cooked.
Serve hot with plain boiled rice.
Cooking Tips & FAQ’s
Here are a few pointers and tips before you make this recipe.
- Break the recipe and the cooking process into different parts for ease:
Part 1 – involves marinating the fish ( takes 1 minute)
Part 2 – pan-frying the fish (5 – 8 mins, depending on the type of fish. This is also an optional step, I do not suggest pan-frying if using fish fillets instead of steaks like I have in this recipe)
Part 3 – making the cashew paste ( 2 mins, you can also use powdered almond and soak in water and cream)
Part 4 – making the onion, tomato masala paste ( 8 mins to fry and blend into paste)
Part 5 – putting everything together to finish the curry. ( 10 mins)
2. You may already by this point give up on making this dish simply by looking at the parts above. Don’t be put off by it.
All the tasks above do not take much time, I have also written the approx time it will take to complete each task. In whole it will take you 30 – 40 mins to make this dish.
3. Unlike most Indian dishes which require you to cook onions until it reaches golden brown in colour, you only need to saute the onions for 5 -7 mins until the raw smell goes away.
4. Don’t bother with chopping onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic fine. You will be blending it, so rough but even cuts will do.
5. Always add 2 tbsp of water while frying cashew or any nut paste from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
How to make poppy paste?
It is difficult to grind cashew kernels and poppy seeds into paste unless you have a good blender like this Ninja Compact food processor that makes the job so much easier.
What is an alternative to poppy seeds paste?
If you do not have a blender that grinds tiny seeds then you are use powdered almond and mix it with 1/4 cup water and 2 tbsp cream.
What is the best fish for fish curry to buy?
Authentic Indian fish curry is normally made with firm fish with bones. The use of fillets is not very popular in the sub continent. I suggest buying a firm white fish for this recipe. I have used an Indian carp (rohu) which I was very lucky to find in my local ethnic store.
Fish like tilapia or red snapper fillet goes very well to make this recipe.
What is Korma?
Korma, is a type of Indian dish which refers to a thick sauce generally served with either meat, chicken or vegetables.
There are different types of korma recipes with different heat and flavour content.
They can range from being mild to hot depending on the use of chillies in the recipe.
Most korma recipes is made with some type of thickening ingredient such as:
- coconut milk,
- nut pastes – like cashew nuts, almonds, walnut etc s
- seed pastes – like poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.
This thick consistency is achieved by making a korma paste, which is made by grinding from a selection of thickening ingredients like cashew nuts, poppy seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds with or without whole spices and fresh aromatics like onions, ginger and garlic.
Primarily korma, refers to a milder variety of Indian dish with a creamy texture.
You can choose to increase the heat by adding chilli powder.
Although the recipe with many different steps may have confused you and made the dish look complicated, it actually is a good starter recipe as all you need to do is make each component and put it together in the end.
Is this Indian fish curry good for beginners?
If you want to try an make an Indian dish at home that is mild and family friendly then this fish korma recipe is a good dish to make.
Besides fish is a faster protein to cook than meat.
Korma style cooking reduces the sauteing process thus making it a relatively easy recipe to make if you are unsure of the Indian cooking pattern.
You can join my online cook along Indian session to learn the fail proof pattern of Indian cooking that makes Indian cooking easy.
If you want to cook an Indian weekday dish or perhaps are at the beginning stages of cooking Indian then this Fish Korma recipe is a good dish to start with.
Being more aromatic than spicy, any Korma dish is also my recommended choice of dish for any first-timer Indian restaurant visitor and also for children.
The sweet and creamy texture is palatable to most.
This Muglai style chicken korma is another easy korma dish to try.