Makhani Fish Curry Recipe


I only cook fish when I can find extremely fresh product at the market. I discovered some wonderful looking king mackerel at the Asian market that I just had to bring home. Mackerel is a tasty fish packed with essential, healthy, fatty acids.

Instead of a drizzle of nước mắm (fermented fish sauce), I pan-fried the fish steaks and then simmered them in an Indian spiced, buttery sauce called makhani curry. I love this sauce; it’s creamy and very flavorful due to the use of garam masala. If mackerel isn’t your thing, you could replace it with other fish or go the more traditional way with chicken. It’s just as delicious.

1. Info for Makhani Fish Curry Recipe

  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 420 kcal

2. Ingredients for Makhani Fish Curry Recipe

  • 3 king mackerel steaks
  • 4 tablespoons full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (optional)
  • 1-½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons methi (see tips)
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 whole jalapeno green chili peppers, stemmed
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (or regular butter)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

3. Directions:

  1. Ask your fishmonger to prep the fish steaks. Make sure the fish skin is scaled. Wash and pat dry using paper towels. Place the fish steaks in a small, shallow dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt, red chili powder and 1 clove of crushed garlic. Make sure the spices coat the fish. Spread a tablespoon of oil evenly in the dish. Marinate the fish for no more than 30 minutes.
  2. Pat the fish dry one more time. In a skillet, heat the oil and fry the garlic until golden. Remove the garlic and set aside. Once the oil has a nice garlic flavor, add ghee over medium heat. Place the steaks in the oil, making sure they don’t touch each other. Jiggle the pan to make sure the fish is totallly coated with oil and does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until lightly golden (depending on the thickness of the steak). Flip each piece (I use chopsticks, which I find easier to maneuver; you could use a slotted fish turner) and pan-fry the other side for another 2-3 minutes until crispy and lightly browned. Jiggle the pan again. Place the fish steaks on paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Prepping the chiles: Stem the jalapeño peppers. Using a paring knife, create a 2-inch incision in the peppers. Note: remember not to rub your eyes after touching jalapeño pepper seeds.
  4. Prepping the onions: In a large deep pan, heat the oil. Add the yellow onions and cook for about 6-8 minutes until nicely golden. Drain and transfer the caramelized onions to a blender or a mini-blender (for the makhani sauce), leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.
  5. In a mini-blender, combine the caramelized onions, about 2 tablespoons of water, the sour cream (if used) and 2 tablespoons of yogurt into a thick paste. If necessary, add more water for a smoother flow. Set aside.
  6. In the same large pan, add more oil if needed. Add 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste and whole jalapeños. Stir continuously and add the onion paste from the blender, the red chili powder, the garam masala, cinnamon stick, methi, coriander powder and about 1 to 1-½ cups of water. Bring to a full boil, then lower the heat to medium-low. Cover with a dome-shaped lid to enable the steam to fall back in the saucepan. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and the tomato sauce. Season with salt.
  7. Bring back to a full boil. Add the heavy cream to make the sauce richer. Finish with lemon juice. Stir well. Check seasoning.
  8. Lastly, add the fish back to the pan. Simmer for about 5-8 minutes.
  9. Remove and discard the cinnamon and chiles.
  10. Transfer to a deep serving platter.
  11. Serve with basmati rice with wedges of lemon and raw red onions.
  12. Bon appétit!

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