Goan Fish Curry: Introduction to a Region

Goan Fish Curry

You can learn a lot about a culture through its food. Curry has become a staple classic of British cuisine over recent decades, but there’s so much more to it than the luminous sauces you get at your local takeaway.

The type of curries eaten in India varies hugely from region to region – and nowhere more so than in Goa.  Goa is visibly different to the rest of India, owing largely to the impact of the Portuguese rule that isolated it from the rest of the country until it was annexed by India in 1961. But the country remains markedly different, with a more laid-back, bohemian lifestyle that isn’t shared across the country.

Goa is also different to other parts of the country in a culinary sense. Unlike the rest of India, most Hindus in Goa eat fish. And given the state’s coastal location, fish are a major staple of the local diet. Read on for a great recipe for a Goan fish curry from the BBC Good Food Website. By mixing local spices and products like coconut milk, you’ll get a real insight into this tiny, fascinating, and inspiring region of India.

You’ll need:

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 1-2 sliced green chillies
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A small piece of finely grated ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 300g of white fish – Cod is best, but haddock or pollock work just as well and are slightly cheaper
  • Rice

To cook:

  1. Lightly toast the seeds and dried red chilli, before removing from the pan and finely grinding.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and golden.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and ground spices and fry for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, tamarind and green chillies and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Dice the fish, and then add to the simmering sauce. After 3-4 minutes, it should be perfectly cooked.
  5. Serve with rice and chapatis.


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  1. says: Lai

    It’s such a pity I’m always a bit up north in New Delhi, for my work. The last time I was there, I stayed in Fraser Suites New Delhi serviced apartments. Will definitely consider going down to Goa over the next time I have to travel to India. I’m quite a fan of curries, and I must try Goan curry!

  2. says: Elle of Solo Female Nomad

    As I have only traveled throughout Northern India, I haven’t had a chance to really experience cuisine from Goa. However, I did go to a Southern Indian restaurant in Rajasthan and they had the best Dosas. So that visit was repeated frequently. Its interesting to see the differences in Indian cuisine based on the area that you visit in India.

  3. That picture looks great–I’ll be eating dinner early tonight.
    I spent over a month in Goa recently and I tried all the different kinds of fish curry. One of them was one of the spiciest foods I’ve had in a while (and I spent a year in Korea not too long ago), but I can’t remember what it was called. I don’t remember if it tasted good either since the first bite burned all my taste buds off.

    1. When I was in India I never got as far down south as Goa. I can imagine the curries you had were quite different from the ones I had up north. I can’t wait to visit the southern part of India!