Mango fish curry (Chennai style)

South Indian (Chennai) style mango fish curry is one of my favourite fish curries because of the sour and tangy taste. Mango fish curry is an onion and tomato based curry with tamarind and raw mango. The combination of raw mango and fish makes this curry excellent.

I have used sea bass for this curry. Any firm fish like snapper, sea bream, king fish (vanjaram) or salmon will work. This fish curry has pretty much the same ingredients as madras fish curry with the only main difference being raw mango. Prepare this fish curry in the morning and serve it in the evening. The flavour gets a lot enhanced when it sits for a while. The mango pieces, the rice, the curry – all when combined together and eaten, is comfort food. The best is next day for breakfast with plain dosa or idli – excellent.

Preparation time: 10 mins (excluding tamarind soaking time)

Cooking time: 45 mins

Cuisine: Tamilnadu

Spiciness: Hot and sour

Serves: 3


  • Fish – 500 gms
  • Raw mango – 2 (medium size) or 300 gms
  • Oil – 1/4 cup or 6 tbsp
  • Dry chillies – 3
  • Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 20
  • Onions – 2 or 200 gms
  • Tomatoes – 2 (medium) or 200 gms
  • Chilli powder – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp
  • Garlic (big cloves) – 4
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind (dry) – small lemon size
  • Green chillies (slit) – 4
  • Water – 2 1/2 cups
  • Tomato (big, sliced) – 1/2
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Garnishing

  • Curry leaves – 10
  • Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup(chopped)



  • I have used sea bass in this curry. I have cut the fish into medium sized pieces about one inch thick. You can also use fillets.
  • I always prefer to use fish with bones, head included. They give a very good flavour and taste to the curry. If they are used, stock is also not needed to enhance the flavour of the curry.
  • Chop the onions, a couple of garlic cloves and tomatoes. Slice the remaining garlic. Keep them ready.
  • Slice half of a big tomato and keep aside.
  • Soak dry tamarind in one cup of hot water for about 10 mins. Extract the tamarind water by squeezing the tamarind nicely. Strain the tamarind water and keep aside. Add 1/2 cup of water and follow the same process again. Strain and keep aside.
  • Making the curry

  • Heat oil in a wide vessel. Add mustard seeds, methi seeds, dry chillies and curry leaves. Let them splutter for a few seconds.
  • Add the chopped onions and saute until the onion turns translucent.
  • Add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes, raw mango pieces, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Cook on a medium flame for about 2 to 3 minute. Do not allow the spices to burn.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and let it boil for about 10 mins until all the water is absorbed. The onion and tomatoes should be cooked well and oil starts to separate from the curry.
  • Add 1 1/2 cup of the tamarind extract and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and let it boil for about 10 mins. Add salt as per taste. You can close the lid and cook.
  • Add sliced tomato (1/2) and green chillies. Cook for about 2 to 3 mins.
  • Now carefully place the fish pieces in the vessel and add salt. Shake the vessel (rotate clockwise direction slowly, without spilling the curry) well instead of mixing the fish into the curry with a spoon. By doing this, the fish pieces will not get broken.
  • Cook for about 7 to 10 mins with the lid closed and on a medium flame until the fish curry is cooked. Occasionally, rotate the vessel slowly to mix the curry. Cook until the required consistency is achieved and the rawness of the tamarind disappears.
  • Reduce the flame. Add few curry leaves and coriander leaves. Cover and cook on a low heat for about 12 to 15 mins.
  • The curry slightly thickens and has left enough oil on top.
  • Shake the vessel (rotate in clockwise direction slowly, without spilling the curry out) well instead of mixing it with a spoon before serving. This will ensure the fish pieces are not broken and are intact.
  • Serve Mango fish curry southern style with plain hot rice or the next day with plain dosa or idli for breakfast.


  • You can use any sea fish you like, like vanjaram (king fish), koduva (sea bass) or sankara (snapper).
  • If your mango is too sour, try to reduce or avoid tamarind. Reducing quantity of tomato will also help.
  • Do not stir too much with a spoon as fish pieces are delicate and can break. Just hold the vessel and rotate it in clock wise or anti-clock wise direction. By doing this the fish pieces won’t break and the curry will also get mixed well.
  • After adding tamarind water, add extra water as per the curry consistency required.
  • If adding thick double concentrated tamarind paste (1 1/2 tsp to 2 tsp), add water as per the requirement of the curry.
  • Sometimes I cook fish curry in an Indian clay pot.
  • You can add 1 tsp pepper powder while simmering the curry.

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