Skip to Content

Choo Chee Curry with Mackerel

Choo chee curry is a delicious and spicy Thai dish that is typically made with fish, my version uses mackerel and it is simply divine.

Preparation of this recipe takes around 10 minutes and it cooks in around 15 minutes making it a perfect quick dinner!

Thai mackerel choo chee curry served with coriander rice.

Thai Mackerel Curry

When I stumbled upon choo chee (sometimes chu chee) curry I had to give it a whirl and I’m glad I did.

Not just because it has a glorious name (I have a fascination with cool food names) but because it is often made with mackerel, one of my favourite ingredients!

I spent 13 years living in central Europe only having access to smoked mackerel. Now I have returned to the UK I am on a bit of a splurge.

This Thai mackerel curry joins a recent Indian mackerel curry, devilled mackerel and whole baked mackerel with potatoes and onions.

In Thailand and across South-East Asia, short-bodied mackerel is the species used. From a flavour point of view and in terms of eating Atlantic mackerel, is a perfect sub.

I cut the mackerel into large chunks, slit the skin and then poach it in a simple coconut milk based sauce.

A sauce rocks Thai red curry paste, fish sauce, lime juice and leaves, brown sugar and loads of Thai basil to freshen everything up.

It’s a recipe that can be prepared and cooked comfortably in under 30 minutes!

Overhead Thai mackerel choo chee curry served with coriander rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of fish?

I have seen this made with everything from salmon to cod, I’ve even seen it made with chicken.

Although, for me oily mackerel is definitely the best fish for this dish, but I am definitely lining up something similar with sardines too!

Do I have to use a wok?

No, you could use any large saucepan. However that does make spooning the sauce over the fish a little more difficult.

What’s the best brand of curry paste to use?

A simple question with dozens of answers depending on where you live and your preferences.

I usually use either Lobo or Maesri because they are available and have decent flavour. Mae ploy is also good but more difficult for me to get my hands on.

Is it easy to make homemade Thai red curry paste?

It certainly is, and of course, I have a homemade Thai red curry paste recipe for you too.

I usually make a large batch and freeze it in ice cube trays and then pop them out and store them in a bag.

Close up Thai mackerel choo chee curry served with coriander rice.

Serving Suggestions

I like to keep my sides for this Thai choo chee curry really simple.

It is pictured here with some plain rice with loads of fresh coriander and lime juice.

But it would work equally well with coconut rice, some plain jasmine rice or even some egg-fried rice if you like.

If you wanted to add some veggies then dishes like my stir fried broccoli and asparagus stir fry make nice additions.

Close up overhead Thai choo chee curry served with coriander rice.

Equipment Used

I only recommend specific brands of equipment if I believe they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok.
  • Sharp kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Prep bowls.
Thai choo chee curry made with on the bone mackerel served with coriander rice.
Yield: 2 Servings

Thai Choo Chee Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This Thai inspired choo chee curry is a delicious and super quick fish supper made with on-the-bone mackerel that will go from your fridge to your table in under 30 minutes!


  • 2 Whole Mackerel
  • 1 (35g) Shallot
  • 1-2 Thai Red Birdseye Chilli Peppers
  • 3 Tbsp (50g) Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 10g (⅓-½ Cup) Thai Basil
  • 4 Lime Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 200ml (¾ Cup) Coconut Milk
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Fish Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • ½ Tbsp Brown Sugar


  1. Remove the head and tail from the mackerel along with any fins, cut the fish in half and then score the fish twice on each side of each piece.
  2. Cut the shallot in half and then peel it and cut it into slices 1-2mm thick.
  3. Cut the birdseye chilli peppers into rounds 1-2mm thick.
  4. Pull the Thai basil from the stems and roughly chop it.
  5. Tear the stems from the lime leaves and then slice them into strips as thinly as you can.
  6. Heat a wok over a high heat and when it is hot add the cooking oil.
  7. Throw in the shallots, chilli peppers and shredded lime leaves and stir fry for 60 seconds making sure you keep it moving all of the time.
  8. Add the red curry paste and stir fry for 2 minutes, again keeping it moving constantly.
  9. Pour in the fish stock and coconut milk then stir to bring it all together.
  10. Rreduce the heat to a rapid simmer and add the brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce, then have a taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more of these to suit your own tastes.
  11. Add the fish and cook basting with the sauce for 7-8 minutes, flipping the fish over halfway through the cooking process.
  12. Serve with freshly chopped coriander.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 793Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 1493mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 48g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Skip to Recipe