How to cook Fish Curry (Malaysian Style)

Fish Curry

Cook Fish Curry the Malaysian way (Gulai Ikan). Try it out. Easy and fast to cook.

Recipe for Fish Curry


  • 900g of fish – Cut the fish into medium-sized pieces preferably Tilapia
  • 4 tbsp fish curry powder
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Onion – sliced
  • 3 Garlics- chopped
  • 10 Lady Fingers – trimmed & halves
  • Curry leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice or tamarind juice
  • 2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 chili halves
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Other version – Singapore Fish Head Curry.


  1. Pour in oil in a pot and heat up.
  2. Put in 2-3 curry leaves, spices and some onions, fry till fragrant.
  3. Add in fish curry powder and stir evenly continuously stirred for approx 10 minutes (the paste should not stick on the pot).
  4. When the oil rises up, add in the lady fingers and fish.
  5. Add in coconut mik and 1 cup water, stir.
  6. Cover the pot, let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer, add in chili and cover the pot for another 5 minutes (Do not over cook fish).
  8. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Here is a video guide to preparing Malaysin version Fish Curry, step by step instructions to prepare.

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  1. 41South

    Recipe looks great but I have some questions.

    1. What does "two chilli halves" mean? Do you mean 1 chilli chopped in half?

    2. Should I use a red chilli or a green chilli?

    3. When do I put the lemon or tamarind juice in?

    Thanks – looking forward to cooking this as I have just come back from Malaysia with lots of fresh spices and some fish curry powder 🙂