Catfish Curry contains tender Catfish fillets pan fried first & than doused in an extremely delicious curry sauce made with onion, tomatoes & pantry staple spices. You can whip up this Indian Style Catfish Curry in no time. Don’t miss the tips & the Video below.
Catfish Curry Indian Style
You’ll love this Catfish curry made in Indian Style because it’s so simple.
Moreover, you don’t need to hunt down fresh catfish for this recipe, the frozen varieties just work fine.
You may even tone down the spices or make it heavy on spices.
Same rule goes with the gravy consistency, make the gravy thicker or thinner according to your preference.
You can even make the gravy ahead, freeze it for future use.
Whenever you are ready to serve the catfish curry thaw the frozen gravy sauce, simmer it, add the fish fillets & surprise your family with a delicious fish curry dinner. Yum!
This Catfish Curry is a great way to incorporate more fish in your diet and when you choose to use fresh fish fillets the load of work is comparatively much lesser as compared to handling a whole catfish with bone in.
But, fish fillets are sometimes difficult to handle ain’t they? They are very soft and hence, fragile.
I’ll share with you a smart trick or two to avoid a broken fish fillet disaster in the fish gravy 😀
So, let’s make the gravy which involves minimal sautéing and is minus the laborious Indian cooking technique.
This Catfish curry is fast, easy, simple, delicious and an excellent candidate for make ahead recipes.
Indian Catfish Curry Ingredients
- Fillet Catfish: I used fresh catfish fillets. You can use frozen fillets or bone in whole catfish made into steaks.
- Onion: Roughly sliced cut into squares.
- Garlic: Cubed or roughly diced.
- Ginger: Roughly diced or cubed.
- Tomato: Roughly chopped.
- Dry Kashmiri red chilies: Soaked in warm vinegar or water.
- Tomato paste
- Tomato sauce or puree.
- Whole spices: Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns.
- Spice powders: Turmeric powder & Kashmiri red chili powder or deggi mirch powder.
- Grated coconut: Use fresh or frozen (thawed).
- Cooking oil: I used mustard oil. You can any cooking oil that you prefer.
- For garnish: Chopped coriander leaves. Now, this is totally optional & thus, it’s not photographed above with the other ingredients.
How to make the catfish fillets less fragile so that they don’t break in the gravy?
You can make the catfish fillets less fragile and prevent them from breaking in the fish curry by following these easy steps mentioned below:
- Fry the fish fillets until golden before adding them to the Indian catfish curry.
- Do not simmer the Fish fillets in the curry more than 1 min.
- Handle the catfish fillets carefully while serving.
Indian Catfish Curry – Tips & Tricks
- Don’t like Fishy smell, do this instead: Soak the catfish fillets in a few drops of vinegar or lemon juice for 15 mins to kill the fishy smell. Catfish has no such distinct smell.
- Fry the fish fillets first: Yes, do this to add extra flavors to the catfish curry. Skillet frying the fish fillets will lock the juices in the fish. Smear the fish fillets with a pinch of turmeric powder, chili powder, salt & a few drops of lemon juice. Fry them both sides until lightly golden in color.
- Do not over roast or burn the masala ingredients: Sauté the masala ingredients over medium heat. Cover and simmer with water. This process will extract all the essential flavors from each ingredient and will make the catfish gravy extra delicious.
- Grind the cooked masala ingredients into a fine paste: There should not be any textures or lumps left in the finely ground masala paste.
- Strain the finely ground masala paste: To get that smooth and silky consistency in your fish gravy do strain the masala paste. It won’t take much of your time.
- Do not over fry the strained masala paste: This very important. Add it to oil, sauté for a few seconds, add water, cover & simmer. Frying it for longer time will leave a pungent taste in the finished catfish curry.
- Add the fish fillets to the gravy just before serving & do not simmer much: This will give you the best tasting and the best looking Indian catfish curry ever. After adding the fish fillets, cover & simmer on low just for 1 min, immediately turn off the flame and allow the catfish curry Indian style rest for a few more mins. The fish fillets won’t get over cooked, they won’t break. The fish fillets will release just the right amount of taste to the gravy.
How to make Catfish Curry?
Steps in words below pictures
Time needed: 20 minutes.
How to make Catfish Curry?
- Fry the Catfish Fillets
Smear the fish fillets with turmeric, red chili powder, lemon juice & salt. Fry them over medium high heat until golden from both sides.
- Sauté the whole Spices
Use the same fish fried oil and sauté the whole spices for a few seconds.
- Add the diced ginger garlic & Sauté
Throw in the diced ginger and garlic and sauté with the rest of the ingredients.
- Sauté the sliced onion
Add the sliced onion and sauté well for 1-2 mins.
- Add tomatoes and sauté
Sauté the chopped tomatoes until they turn mushy. Also add the dry spices and the grated coconut. Saute everything together.
- Mix in the Kashmiri chilies & the tomato paste + puree
Add the soaked Kashmiri red chilies, tomato paste and tomato puree. Mix well.
- Cover & cook
Add warm water, mix well. Cover & cook until the onion is softened.
- Grind and strain the masala
Grind the cooked masala and strain to get a smooth paste.
- Cook the strained masala paste
Heat some oil in a pan, add the strained masala paste, dilute with little water and cover and simmer for few minutes.
- Add the fried fish fillets
Throw in the fried fish fillets and simmer for about 1 min.
You can store today’s Catfish Curry for 4 days in the fridge.
You can even freeze the semi cooked catfish curry for 1 month. This exactly how you can do so:
- After grinding the cooked masala ingredients, strain it and than store it in freezer safe container and freeze immediately.
- When ready to serve simmer the thawed masala paste with water, add the fried fish fillets and simmer for 1 min. You can find the steps in details in the recipe card below.
I love to serve today’s Indian Style Catfish Curry with steaming hot white rice like Sona Masoori, Basmati, Arborio rice or any long grain rice.
Love Fish? Try these awesome fish recipes from Foodies Terminal.
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- 1 kg catfish fillets cut into 2.5″ rectangles or squares (2 pounds)
- 1 cup Onion sliced (1 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup tomato chopped (1 medium tomato)
- 2.5 tbsp Tomato Paste (store bought)
- 1/4 cup Tomato Puree (store bought)
- 5 dry kashmiri red chilies soaked in warm water or vinegar
- 1/4 cup grated coconut (frozen or fresh)
- 1 tbsp roughly diced ginger
- 1 tbsp garlic roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Mustard Oil (or any cooking oil)
- few drops of lemon juice (optional)
- Salt (to taste)
- 2 + 1/2 cups Water
Dry spice powders
- 2 tbsp Paprika or Deggi Mirch or Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp Red Chili Powder (optional)
- Chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Prepping the Catfish Fillets
- Wash the fish fillets very well under running tap water. You may also soak the catfish fillets in enough water with few drops or either vinegar or lemon juice to kill the fishy smell completely.
- Pat dry the washed catfish fillets very well with the help of kitchen towel. Cut them into desired shapes (2.5″ rectangles or squares).
- Rub the cut catfish fillets with a pinch or turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and lemon juice (optional).
- Set a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 of the metnioned oil quantity and gently release the flash marinated catfish fillets in the hot oil. Fry them both sides until golden in color. Set them aside in a clean dry plate.
Prepping the Masala Paste for the Catfish Curry
- Use the same skillet and the fish fried oil for frying the rest of the ingredients for the fish curry.
- Set the skillet over meidum heat. Add little more oil if need be. Though you won’t need any more oil now because catfish will release lots of oil.
- When the oil becomes moderately oil add all the whole spices like black pepper corns, cumin and coriander seeds. Saute them for just a few seconds.
- Add the diced ginger and garlic and saute for a minute.
- Next, add the sliced onions and saute them for 1-2 minutes. You may add salt at this stage.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, dry spices & the grated coconut. Saute them for 2 minutes.
- Now, add the soaked Kashmiri red chilies, the tomato paste & the puree and saute them for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour about 2 cups water and give everything a very good stir. Cover and cook for 5 mins over medium low heat or until the onion is soft and the tomatoes are mushy.
- Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool down completely. Grind it into a fine paste in a mixer grinder.
- Strain the fine masala paste with the help of a strainer. This will give you a smooth and silky masala paste without any lumps or textures.
How to cook the Catfish Curry Indian Style?
- Take a deep bottomed pan or Kadai and set over medium low heat. Add the rest of the oil. When the oil becomes slightly hot pour the strained masala paste into the kadai and dilute it with 1/2 cup water or according to your preference. Add more water if you prefer slightly thinner gravy and vice versa. But don’t make the gravy runny or very thin, it won’t taste good. The consistency of the catfish curry should be flowy but not runny.
- Give everything a good mix and cover and cook for 5 mins over medium low heat.
- Add the fried catfish fillets just before serving and simmer for not more than 1 minute.
- Serve immediately garnished with chopped coriander only if you prefer coriander leaves. Enjoy!
- Measuring Units used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
- Catfish Curry Profile: This Indian Catfish curry is spicy, mildly sweet and creamy with a super smooth and silky curry sauce that has a flowy consistency.
- You may sub the grated coconut with 1/4 cup coconut milk. In that case add the coconut milk just before adding the fish fillets to the fish curry. Cover and simmer as suggested in the recipe.
- If you love spice fish curry add more chili powder or add slit green chilies while simmering the curry sauce.
- If you prefer non spicy food cut back on the chili powder from the recipe and de seed the dry whole Kashmiri red chilies before soaking them warm water or vinegar.
- NOTE: The consistency of the curry sauce should not be runny. It should be flowy. If you refer a thicker fish curry, add less water in the masala paste.
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