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Mackerel Curry with Goan Influences

Mackerel curry, my version of a Goan dish from the south of India, big chunks of bone-in fish cooked quickly in a wet spicy curry sauce.

The whole dish is simple to cook and will go from your fridge to your table in under 30 minutes!

Indian influenced mackerel curry served in a karai.

Goan Influenced Fish Curry

I adore this mackerel curry, it is a dish I first had a version of in an Indian restaurant in Birmingham about 20 years ago.

It is a bit of a faff to eat but you are rewarded with the most incredible flavours and perfectly cooked mackerel.

My version is loosely based on a Goan curry, but as with all of my recipes, it contains a boatload of my own thoughts and flavours.

It joins other fish curries from the Indian subcontinent like a Bengali influenced macher jhol recipe, a completely made-up Indian salmon curry with yoghurt, a foxy coconut and tamarind squid curry, and a superb South Indian monkfish curry.

If spicy fish curries are your thing then you should definitely check out my Thai inspired offerings too. I have a Thai green cod curry, Thai red salmon curry and a choo chee curry that also uses mackerel.

Overhead Indian influenced mackerel curry served in a karai.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use mackerel fillets?

Not really, a huge amount of flavour in this dish is derived from cooking the fish on the bone.

Mackerel fillets would also be much more prone to fall apart in the sauce.

Do I have to use dried pomegranate seeds?

No, but they do add a wonderful rich sweet and sour edge to the sauce.

Anardana, as they are also known, are a relatively new addition to my Indian-inspired spice cupboard and I love them. They feature in dishes like my chole recipe and lamb bhuna so don’t worry about having loads left!

What is jaggery?

Jaggery is an unrefined sugar and it adds a subtle caramel note to the sauce in this recipe.

You can substitute it for light brown sugar if you wish.

How do you eat this?

I make no bones (see what I did there) about this being a bit of a messy dish to eat. Fish cooked on the bone usually is.

However separating the fish from the bone is easy and I would usually transfer the chunks to a plate, flake off the flesh and return it back to the sauce.

Close up Indian influenced mackerel curry served in a karai.

Serving Suggestions

I like to eat this mackerel curry with either naan bread or more typically chapatis.

Separating the fish from the bone is simple, and I love just tucking in with my fingers and getting messy.

You could serve this with rice too, I usually make plain rice, but a nice onion fried rice would work well.

Sticking with the rice idea you could serve it with an Indian inspired rice salad and a kachumber salad too.

If you really wanted to create a spread some potatoes would work wonderfully with this Goan inspired dish. Either aloo methi (fenugreek potatoes) or even my roast Bombay potatoes would be perfect.

Spicy Goan influenced mackerel curry served in a karai.

Equipment Used

I have no recommendations for brands of kit used unless otherwise stated.

  • Large Wok.
  • Weighing scales or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Sharp kitchen knife.
  • Stovetop.
  • Mini blender or mortar and pestle.
  • Stirring spoons.
  • Fish slice or spatula.
Spicy Goan influenced mackerel curry served in a karai.
Yield: 2 Servings

Indian Mackerel Curry Recipe

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

This delicious spicy mackerel curry has influences from Sout Indian cuisine, more specifically Goa, it is delicious and cooks in under 30 minutes!


  • 2 Whole Mackerel
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric
  • ¾ Tsp Salt
  • 1 (35g) Shallot
  • 1 Medium Tomato
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 15g (½ Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Cloves
  • 6 Dried Red Chillies
  • 6 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Blade of Mace
  • 1 Tsp Dried Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 Tsp White Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 Green Chilli Pepper
  • 8 Curry Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 375ml (1½ Cups) Water
  • 1 Tsp Jaggery


  1. Remove the head and tail from the mackerel then cut each fish into 3 portions.
  2. Rub the fish with the turmeric and half a teaspoon of salt and set aside.
  3. Cut the shallot in half lengthways, then peel it and then cut it into 2mm thick half-moon shapes.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves and add them to a mini blender.
  5. Peel the ginger and add it to the mini blender.
  6. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, dried red chillies, black peppercorns, blade of mace, dried pomegranate seeds and vinegar to the mini blender and blitz to a smooth paste. You can use a pestle and mortar for this too.
  7. Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat and add the slit green chilli, curry leaves and slit green chilli and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the tomatoes and spice paste and cook for a minute.
  9. Throw in the tomato paste and cook for a minute stirring continuously.
  10. Pour in the water, season with the remaining salt and add the jaggery and cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the fish and cook for 3 minutes, then flip the fish and cook for another 2 minutes.
  12. Serve with fresh coriander.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 499Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 983mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 8gSugar: 13gProtein: 27g

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!

thomas rosser

Thursday 16th of March 2023

hi could i use frozen mackeral regards tom

Brian Jones

Saturday 1st of April 2023

Yes, frozen mackerel will be fine for this recipe.

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